Help! All I want is Rapini.
Hey Everyone :)
After moving from Toronto to Los Angeles everything has gone smoothly except for a few culinary bumps. Adjusting to the predominantly Hispanic cuts of meat and food names has been a real challenge.
I am second generation Italian and I am struggling to find grocers that carry the very lifeblood of my cooking style. I have found some substitutes for the import brands of dry genoa salami and I have also found substitutes for different oils and things like that. However, I am yet to find rapini. anywhere.
For those of you that don't know, Rapini (also known as Broccoli Rabe) is a dark green vegetable, kind of like a cross between spinach and broccoli, but with a really robust, slightly bitter flavor. It is absolutely delicious when you lightly steam it, then fry it in olive oil with garlic and pepperoncini.
Most Italian delis here in LA have a small grocery section, but I rarely see Italian grocery stores that have produce, and I can't find it at any of the major chains like I can back East. Can you give me any suggestions?
Rapini ! Rapini ! Rapini !
I love it ! I want it ! I need it !
Things I need:
- Pepperoncini (italian red chili peppers, not Spanish/Mexican chilies)
- A good place to buy a big 2 liter can of import olive oil without breaking the bank
There is a small chain of Supermarkets called "Sprouts" here in LA. They have the best produce outside of Whole Foods at a third of the price. I get my Rapini (broccoli rabe) there all the time. In the SFV there are 2 to my knowledge - one in Burbank and one in Woodland Hills.
Additionally, in Burbank is the Monte Carlo Delicatessen. Italian food and tons of supplies. Personally, their Hot Italian Sausage with fennel is what I buy and cook with.
Rapini isn't really in season yet, at least in California. When it is it is widely available at the farmer's markets and most grocery stories. Whole Foods, Gelsons, and Bristol Farms all regularly carry it and most regular places do to.
Not sure where exactly you are living though, if you are only finding Hispanic cuts of meat.
Claro's and Bay Cities are two of the better known Italian delis and Surfas carries a lot of weirdness too.
I suggest a trip to the Roma Deli in Pasadena. It is known for its signature sandwich, but it also carries many Italian delicacies. It is one of only two places in LA where I have found salt-packed anchovies (you have to ask), and there is an impressive selection of Italian cheeses, and incredible bread. Prices are quite reasonable. On the west side Sorrento's in Culver City is also a good source of Italian food, but not quite as remarkable as the Roma.
I always find it at Gelson's. [Silverlake] I'm a huge fan and think those who blanch it are wimps.
Oddly, finding it at Whole Foods can be a challenge. [Glendale]
A long standing "go-to" dish involves good quality italian sausage, broccoli rabe, lots of garlic and a sturdy pasta. It never fails.