Chefs often rein in broccoli rabe’s assertive character by blanching it in boiling water, then briefly sautéing it in a hot skillet. Seattle cook, author and urban farmer Amy Pennington convinced us to skip the tried-and-true approach and roast our rabe instead. Twenty minutes in the hot oven softens the stalks and chars and crisps the leaves, lending the rabe an eye-opening combination of flavors and textures. For the accompanying quinoa salad, Pennington gives home cooks free license to vary the dressing’s spices and herbs but recommends keeping the honey-lime base. This sweet-sour combination is a real palate pleaser that nicely complements the broccoli rabe.
Herbed Quinoa Salad with Charred Broccoli Rabe
Recipe adapted from Amy Pennington, amy-pennington.com
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1½ pounds)
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons), plus more for seasoning
½ cup loosely packed fresh mixed herbs such as mint and cilantro, roughly chopped
½ large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into matchsticks
¼ cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 450˚. On a large baking sheet, toss the broccoli rabe with the garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the broccoli rabe in a single layer on the baking sheet. (If necessary, divide thebroccoli rabe between two baking sheets.) Roast, stirring once, for 20 minutes or until charred and tender. Remove the broccoli rabe from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water, about 12 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the cumin with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the honey and the lime juice until combined. Using a spatula, fold in the quinoa, herbs, carrots, almonds and raisins. Season with salt and additional lime juice, if desired.
4. Divide the salad among four plates and add a pile of the broccoli rabe to each. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
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Check out more of Amy Pennington’s great recipes in either of her two cookbooks.