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Italian style spinach or rabe?

So tell me, how to those italian deli's get their garlic spinach or broccoli rabe to be so damn tasty? Boat loads of oil withheld, and just the basics (oil, salt, garlic) please?

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  1. And best frozen spinach brand that doesn't taste freezer burned?

    1. For the broccoli rabe, first you need to blanch it quickly in hot water. This will remove some of the bitterness. Then you saute it in olive oil with garlic and some salt.

      For the spinach, I always start with fresh. You don't need to blanch it, but the rest of the process is the same. If you use frozen, you have to make sure you get all of the water out of it before you saute it.

      Also, saute the garlic in the oil before you add the greens. That flavors the oil so when you add the greens, the flavor is absorbed.

      1. I like to steep glarlic slivers in the olive oil to infuse it before adding either vegetable. I also like to give it a pinch of red pepper flakes as well......lemon is optional.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          I do that as well... no lemon though.

          1. re: Gio

            There's also a restaurant trick....and I'm sure the same for many Italian homes.....if the greens get too watery, especially the spinach or escarole, they add bread crumbs to absorb the extra unintended moisture and add another element of texture and taste.

        2. They might be throwing some white vermouth/white wine in there too, along with the fresg garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes (salt and pepper too of course).

          Escarole is fantastic sauteed like this as well.

          1. Fresh veggies, patted dry, seasoned well with sea salt, garlic and good evoo.

            1 Reply
            1. re: treb

              ^This.
              While frozen spinach is okay (and even preferable) in some dishes, it's not for this type of dish. Fresh is much better in terms of flavor/texture.

              Can't have too much garlic; also would add a few red pepper flakes.

            2. This rabe recipe turned out great for me and is relatively simple:

              - One bunch fresh Broccoli Rabe (about 1.5 lbs)
              - 3-4 Cloves of Garlic, sliced
              - 3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
              - 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
              - Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

              The instructions are pretty straight forward: http://oliveoillovers.com/recipe-broc... (I am affiliated with this website).

                1. re: coll

                  Anchovies is a big secret for other bitter greens too... namely escarole!

                    1. re: monavano

                      ... or anchovies in olive oil or salt.

                      1. re: Gio

                        with rabe definitely slice and blanch, put in ice water, dry before adding to pot - saute garlic and some good red pepper, use good oil, make sure oil is hot, add blanched rabe, s & P, cook for a few minutes finish with a splash of balsamic

                        1. re: teezeetoo

                          You know... I never did blanch greens before saurteeing them. Here's what I do:

                          Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add peeled and chopped garlic with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Sautee a few seconds then add 1 drained tin of anchovies in olive oil. Rinse, chop fresh greens, slowly add to pan, stir/toss to coat, pour in a scant cup stock (unsalted chicken stock for me), toss well, cover and simmer till greens have just wilted, uncover, stir again, cook till liquid is just about evaporated. Serve.

                          1. re: Gio

                            i never add anchovies to rabe (seems a wrong match to me) though i have added to escarole and i don't blanch escarole or spinach but I find if i don't blanch rabe and try to cook it through with liquid, adding it raw, it either gets tough in the stems or overcooks.