Broccoli Rabe and Pea Fricassee

(Serves 4)

  • 1 1/4 pounds broccoli rabe (about 10 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 large elephant garlic clove, cut with a vegetable peeler into flakes or thin slices (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut off the bottom 4 inches from the stems of the broccoli rabe. Peel them to remove the tough, fibrous outer layer: Using a small paring knife, grab the skin at the end of one stem and pull; it will come off easily. Go around each stem in this manner, removing the fibrous exterior. Cut the broccoli rabe into 2-1/2-inch pieces wash, and drain in a colander.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it is hot, saute the garlic and crushed red pepper in the oil for 30 seconds. Add about one third of the broccoli, still wet from washing, and stir so that the garlic flakes come to the top of the mixture instead of burning underneath it. Add the remaining broccoli, cover and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Add the peas and salt, and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer, or until most of the moisture is gone and the peas are hot.

Serve immediately, or cool, cover, refrigerate and reheat in a microwave oven at serving time.

Reprinted with permission from Jacques Pépin Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin (Houghton Mifflin, September 2004).

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