Identification: A green vegetable in the cabbage family, consisting of tight clusters of tiny green flower buds on fleshy stalks.
Related Varieties: Pale green broccoflower is closer in character to cauliflower than to broccoli and should be handled like cauliflower. Broccolini is a relatively new broccoli hybrid with slender stems and small, loose florets (flower bud heads). Broccoli rabe (also called broccoli raab, broccoletti di rape, rapini, and cima de rapa), like broccolini, has slenderer stems and loose florets, but it also has tender leaves attached to the stems, and the stems are slightly ribbed rather than smooth. Broccoli has a stronger,more mustardy flavor. Several varieties of Chinese broccoli are similar to broccoli rabe, in both shape and flavor, except the stems are smoother and fleshier.
Evaluation: Look for dark green, tightly closed buds in regular broccoli and broc-coflower.Broccoli rabe and Asian types should be dark green with crisp,not wilted, leaves.
Preparation: Wash well. Soak in salted water 30 minutes if necessary to remove insects. Split large stalks into smaller sizes for portioning. Split thick stalks partway for faster cooking, or cut tops from stalks.Tougher stalks may be peeled (Figure 16.6).
Percentage Yield: 65-75%
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