Brocoli Rabe is one of those dishes that I didn’t discover until a few years ago. When you see the small florets at the top of the greens, you might mistake Broccoli Rabe for an offshoot of broccoli or some type of weed offshoot. It’s not in the broccoli family. It’s actually part of the turnip family. Whatever you may think it is, when cooked the right way, it’s pretty tasty. It has a slightly bitter earthy taste which may not sound really appetizing at first. However, when matched with the right ingredients, its a nice alternative to the usual greens. Broccoli Rabe is often found in Italian cooking and you’ll typically find it mixed with pastas or matched with a sliced pork and provolone sandwich. Whatever you decide to pair Broccoli Rabe with, cooking it down is the best to tenderize the stalks.
I went in a different, less traditional, direction when I put this dish together. Broccoli Rabe is often paired with Italian sausage, but I was strolling around a farm stand and spotted some good looking Kielbasa. If you’ve never heard of Kielbasa it’s a fantastic smoked Polish sausage. If you ever see a Polish deli do yourself a favor and go inside, ask for help, and don’t come out until you have a Kielbasa under your arm. Take a little extra time to find an authentic Polish deli. Just by drive past the large supermarket because you won’t find true Kielbasa there. I wish there were words to describe Kielbasa better then smoked, salty pork, but I just can’t do the description justice. Just take my word for it and try it.
The first thing to do with this recipe is heat up a pan. I sometimes will throw Broccoli Rabe straight on the grill grates, but for this recipe I used a frying pan. Once the pan is hot, add olive oil and garlic. Cook the garlic for a few minutes. Just be careful not to burn it.
Make sure you thoroughly wash the Broccoli Rabe before you throw it on the pan. If you don’t, you might get a little sand in your dish which obviously is not what we are going for here. Also, cut the end of the stems off by about an inch. After you throw the Broccoli Rabe on the grill, add about 1/8 of a cup of red wine vinegar. I usually salt broccoli rabe, but with the Kielbasa you won’t need to add any more salt to the party.
Once the broccoli rabe begins to render down, go ahead and throw the kielbasa on as well. I prefer to keep the kielbasa off the direct heat, but if you’d like to give it a nice char feel free to place it over the flame. Most Kielbasa you will find is already smoked, so you won’t need much cooking time. Just long enough to heat thoroughly.
Once both ingredients are cooked thoroughly, slice the kielbasa and serve.