Broccoli Spigarello

Illustrations by John BurgoynePhoto: Hannah Whitaker

This heirloom broccoli-rabe variety (some claim it’s the granddaddy of all broccoli rabe) has a cult following in California, where Rose Water chef Bret Macris came across it in the Campanile kitchen where he used to work. Veggie guru Guy Jones of Blooming Hill Farm has added it to his crop, and so has Greenmarket’s Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, so look for it to start popping up with ramplike fervor on all the finest haute barnyard menus. Its flavor is sweet and a lot less bitter than broccoli rabe, or, as Bishop says, “kalelike but better.”

Bret Macris’s Sautéed Spigarello With Chile Flakes and Honey

2 bunches spigarello
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. shallot, minced
1 tsp. garlic, minced
Pinch dried red chile flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon to taste
1 tbs. honey
Coarse sea salt to finish

(1) Cut off the lower stems of the spigarello leaves. (If the leaves are large and the stems tough throughout, remove them completely, as you might from kale.) Blanch the leaves and drain them in a colander, or dry them on paper towels or in a salad spinner. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Just before the oil starts to smoke, (2) add the spigarello and cook until slightly brown around the edges and a little crisp. Add the shallots, garlic, and chili flakes. Lower heat to medium or medium-low and cook, but don’t brown the shallots and garlic. (3) Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Plate the spigarello, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle a little sea salt over the top.

Broccoli Spigarello