Whoa whoa whoa. Spring is in full swing. And that means GREENS. While roasting is [clearly] my favorite and most low maintenance way to cook delicious, flavorful greens, I recently had two delicious dishes that inspired this next one. They first was garlicky broccoli rabe a la plancha at Coppa. It was delicious with a charred taste to it and a slight kick. The second dish was a blanched then seared broccoli at Hamersley's Bistro. Two incredibly flavorful ways to serve greens. Both were seasoned to perfection and had a delicious seared element that made the greens incredibly savory.
Now don't get me wrong. Regular greens are great and as long as they're seasoned with enough salt, I can eat an entire roasting tray full of them. But the garlic panko brings them to a whole new level. Sure, there are a few extra steps here, but if you want restaurant worthy greens, this recipe is the way to go.
You will need:
- Apprx. 1 lb broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- zest of half a lemon
- red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Step one - Blanch the greens. In a heavy bottomed pot, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water generously. In fact, if you tasted the water, it would taste as salty as the ocean. Do not skip this step! The salted water is what gives the broccoli it's flavor. Else, the flavor will be stripped. Add the greens to the boiling water. Give it 1 and a half minutes. While you're waiting, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Remove the greens from the water with tongs after they're done blanching and add them to the ice water. Let them cool completely and dry them with paper towels.
Next step - sear the broccoli rabe. In a well seasoned cast iron pan or metal skillet (try to avoid using nonstick) on high heat, add a little bit of olive oil. When it's smoking hot, add your broccoli rabe. Let it sit a while without moving. Add your minced garlic, and two pinches red pepper flakes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper as well. After about a minute or two, flip the broccoli rabe over onto their other side so that can get seared as well. You should have a nice browning. Once that side is seared, remove and place onto a plate.Your last step is to make the breadcrumbs. Turn the heat down to medium. Within the same pan, there should be nice brown garlic bits. Keep those in there! Add the 1/4 cup panko crumbs directly to the pan. Also, using a microplane, zest approximately half a lemon in there. Using a wooden spoon or fork, slowly toast the bread crumbs until golden brown. This will take approximately 3-4 minutes. Take care not to use high heat - the crumbs will burn easily.
Pour the crumbs over the broccoli rabe. One last sprinkle of salt if necessary. You can also add an optional sprinkle of lemon, but I personally like the flavor the zest brings, with the bitterness of the broccoli. I devoured this entire plate myself. I dare you to not do the same!