Ask a Chef: Claire Criscuolo

Ask a Chef: Claire Criscuolo

Browsing the specialty produce section of your local grocer, you may be intrigued by a leafy green veggie whose stalks display clusters of broccoli-like buds.

We asked Claire Criscuolo, RN, founder and proprietor of Claire's Corner Copia, in New Haven, Conn., for tips on preparing broccoli raab.

"Broccoli raab is incredibly versatile: it can be chopped and added to a fall vegetable soup, tossed with pasta, or served as an entrée with white beans. For the benefit of those who object to its assertive, peppery-mustardy taste, the first thing I do is to smell a bunch of it—if it smells especially strong, I blanch it in a small amount of lightly salted boiling water for just a minute, then drain it, reserving the water for a soup. My favorite way to cook broccoli raab is Sicilian style, in homage to my father, who is of Sicilian descent."

Broccoli Raab, Sicilian Style
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chopped tomato, or 12 halved cherry tomatoes
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 big bunch (16 oz.) broccoli raab
Sea salt, for sprinkling

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, tomato, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes. Stir frequently for a few minutes, until the tomatoes soften and the garlic is golden but not burned.

2. Blanch, then drain the broccoli raab. Add to skillet—careful, it splatters—and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss skillet contents to coat with oil.

3. Cover, and cook about 3 minutes, then toss again to cook evenly. Cover, and continue cooking for another minute or two.

4. Taste for doneness; it's ready when tender to your preference.