Cime di Rapa, they are a close relative of green broccoli. They are harvested during the winter and enjoyed in spring/summer in different areas of Italy, especially in the Centre-Southern where they are called with different names: in Tuscany they are called as ‘Rapini’, in Lazio as ‘Broccoletti’ and in Campania they are called as ‘Friarielli’ not to confuse them with the sweet peppers friarelli or friggitelli friggitelli-the-italian-frying-sweet-peppers/
Yet, in Italy we all agree that as soon as you mention cime di rapa, you immediately call Apulia with its famous dish ‘orecchiette alle cime di rapa’, a timeless goodness becoming one of the symbols of Apulian culinary culture.
They have a bitterish and slightly spicy taste, you can eat them all, Leaves included, they match perfectly with pasta or simply sautéed in a pan with a drizzle of oil, garlic and chilli pepper, excellent on pizza combined with sausage as our Neapolitan friends teach us eith the combo ‘salsiccia e friarielli‘, or in combination with meat and fish, – with cuttlefish they are exceptional – perfect as a filling for fried or baked calzones, in omelettes and soups.
Cime di rape are a natural panacea as well, a bit like all broad-leaved green and bitterish vegetables, they contain mineral salts, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, iron, manganese, sodium, magnesium, copper, selenium, potassium);
vitamins A, C, J, E, K, B, B2 (folic acid);
It’s definitely not just about gluttony, is also about healthy. If you want to purify yourself or recover from stress and sickness, this is the perfect vegetable.
And if you are curious enough about ‘Orecchiette con le cime di rapa’ recipe, here is: apulian-orecchiette-with-broccoli-rabe/