Commonly known in the United States as broccoli raab, it is truly a vegetable with many names around the world. A few of the many names are raab, rabe, rapa, rapine, rappi, rappone, turnip broccoli, taitcat, Italian or Chinese broccoli, broccoli rape, or broccoli de rabe.
Originating in the Mediterranean and also China, it is actually a descendant from a wild herb. Used extensively in Italian and Chinese cooking, it is not as popular in the United States but is gaining popularity. Although it has broccoli’s name, broccoli raab is not related to broccoli. It is, however, closely related to turnips, which is probably why the leaves look like turnip greens. Broccoli raab is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium.
Clean broccoli raab as you would other greens, removing the bottom tough portion of the stems. To maintain crispness, refrigerate unwashed raab, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag, for up to 3 days.
Many people find broccoli raab to be aggressively bitter, but you can cut out most of its bitterness simply by blanching it before using it in a recipe. Place the broccoli raab into boiling water for 2 minutes, then remove it with a slotted spoon and plunge it immediately into ice water.