UnArchives: Unexpected Snow Day + Broccoli Rabe Grilled Cheese

An extremely outdated post that I never finished until today, but will post here anyway, because seriously, who doesn’t like grilled cheese:

Sometimes you have a rough couple of weeks, and then the universe throws you a bone. Like this morning, for example. I awoke to the news that my district was closed for a snow day. I looked out the window and saw not even a speck of snow on the ground outside.

Nonsense? Yes. 

Too excited by the prospect to go back to sleep at 5:30, I immediately took inventory of my kitchen in order to determine what I could bake that day. Unfortunately, I found that we were out of flour, baking powder, and chocolate chips. In the midst of my despair, I found that had some broccoli rabe, bread, cheddar cheese, and an open bottle of white wine. I also remembered that the best part of snow days during my childhood was grilled cheese sandwiches.

Can we talk for a minute about broccoli rabe? It’s my current favorite vegetable and is about to be prominently featured on this site in a way that may be slightly reminiscent of the period of time in my life about 2 years ago that caused all of my friends and family to collectively roll their eyes and yell SHUT UP ABOUT KALE. I promise if you are not a kale lover that you will actually like broccoli rabe, because guess what it goes really well with? Garlic. Cheese. Pasta. White wine. Bread. Pizza. Are you drooling yet? Good.

It surprised me to learn that broccoli rabe is in no way related to broccoli, despite looking very similar. For a long time I was under the impression that it was the leaves of the broccoli plant, but then read recently that it is actually more closely related to turnips. It is quickly replacing kale as my favorite leafy green, as it is spicy and garlicky and does not need to be overly seasoned, massaged, or sung to in order to make it lovely. It’s easy. You will like it.

Broccoli Rabe Grilled Cheese (loosely adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread (ciabatta, baguette, or any rustic crusty bread works well here)
  • Cheese (White cheddar, fontina, pecorino, mozzarella, or any combination of these)
  • 3-4 stalks broccoli rabe,
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • White wine
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

1. Wash the broccoli rabe and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim the bottom of the stalks. Trim the leaves and florets from the stalks and then chop the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Leave the florets intact and coarsely chop the leaves.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two until fragrant.

3. Add the broccoli rabe stalks, florets and red pepper flakes (if using) and toss with olive oil and garlic for a minute until coated with oil and slightly cooked. Add a few splashes of white wine, cover, and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add the leaves and cook for one more minute. Remove from pan.

4. Butter one side of each slice of bread and assemble sandwich with cheese and broccoli rabe (buttered side should be on the outside of sandwich). Put sandwich on skillet, cover, and cook until each side of the bread is slightly browned and cheese is melted, flipping sandwich halfway through the cooking process. (You know how to make grilled cheese. Come on.)

5. Consume with a glass of wine while feeling very pleased with yourself for making such a lovely lunch.

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