Wasn’t gonna do this! Very personal, very private! But after the past few months, after yesterday … I decided too. And it’s for me!!
Waneta Dam – June 1958
… defunkt the pistol that you pay for
go ask the dust for any answers
come back strong with 50 belly dancers
I love rapini!! Just love it!! No matter what you fucking call it … broccoli rabe, or rapini. I was introduced to it many, many years ago and it’s without a doubt my favourite green to cook and eat. It’s my go to green. I’m lumping lots of vegetables into this category, some very similar in terms of classification, some not. Let me see … spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts immediately come to mind. This grouping, these types of vegetables is what I’m referring to. And since I am the one who cooks, and shops for the groceries too, I seem to never consider the other ones … and it’s not because I don’t like them, because I do. It’s just that they’re not on my radar when all I have is tunnel vision for broccoli rabe. The thing though is that most people DO NOT like rapini. In fact they HATE it!! I must admit, it really is an acquired taste … it can be very, very, bitter. Last night’s version was extremely bitter … and I loved it even more … the best I ever fucking made!! That appreciation is due to many, many servings of this fantastic food. Now I don’t even use recipes when I cook it … I think I used to, when I first started cooking it, and let me tell you … it’s all bullshit!! Initially, I used to take forever … carefully trimming every Goddamn piece!! Where now, I take my chef’s knife and cut just above the band, the Andy Boy band, discard the tied stalk below, keep the rest and voila, I immediately have a bunch ready to go. Next comes washing, and rinsing (multiple times) in a huge bowl. Ok, getting back to the bullshit part. Seems like these recipes insist on blanching the rapini, squeezing out excess water and then pan frying it!! That’s the fucking bullshit part folks!! So time consuming … what a fucking waste of time!! Not only is it it more difficult, but the results aren’t even as good. Oh, before I go further I want to point out, mention that the best best accompaniment to rapini is tilapia!! Absolutely the best … when done right, nothing, absolutely nothing beats this pairing!! Served with a fresh salad, Dodonis feta, kalamata olives, and a generous dollop of tzatziki!! I’m salivating thinking about it … But I digress, my apologizes. After multiple washes and rinses of the broccoli rabe, drain the excess water, leaving it wet throughout.This is key … those water droplets are essential and will come in handy during the braising process. Set aside the washed rapini, and heat a pot, preferably a heavy pot. I personally use Le Creuset … they’re the motherfucking best!! Turn the burner on high, pour a few splashes, tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add a few smashed garlic gloves, only to infuse the oil and remove them after a few minutes, when they become dark golden brown … and now please pay attention here … add about 1 heaping tablespoon of chili flakes … crushed red pepper flakes (a little less if you’re shy … but I like heat, and in this recipe, when you do this, it really isn’t that hot) and let them dance in the bottom of the pan for 20 seconds. Now, when the pot is hot, throw in the slightly wet rapini, but don’t stir yet. Leave it be, don’t anything right away. Let it splatter and sizzle for a minute or two, then give a toss. Continue cooking like this for at least 5 minutes and up to ten … or so(I find the longer you cook it, the less bitter it is). Near the end of this process, you can squeeze a lemon on it, salt and pepper it liberally, turn off the heat, and put a lid on the pot until ready to serve. Easy, simple, done!! Yesterday to jazz it up, I first cubed and blanched three yukon gold potatoes until tender, drained the water, and hit them with butter, lemon, plenty of salt, and a special 4 peppercorn rub that I have. Then I put them into a saute pan and gently fried them, just to give them a light golden colour. When they were done, I added the spuds into the pot of rapini, gently tossed, kept a lid on it and waited until serving!! Now, I ask you … how fucking good is that??
This is a GREAT band, no doubting that, no questioning that!! Hey, personally I think they were the best band to come out of the 90’s. All Apologizes Nirvana (did you get that reference? No, seriously, did you?). But that debate is for a later date. Oh, and I realize, just in case you think I didn’t, that Appetite For Destruction debuted in the late 80’s, but I still consider them to be a 90’s band. At the present though we’re talking cover bands and I think that Guns is the GREATEST cover band (performer) of all time!! When you think covers, immediately Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends comes to mind as perhaps the greatest cover ever. And you know what? … maybe it was. He also did The Letter, and You Are So Beautiful. Hey, no arguing he was great, despite his onstage antics, his pretend paraplegic performances … acting like a Goddamn gimped-out motherfucking retard!! Thing is though, that he was from a different era, a time so long ago. And also, there’s no denying Johnny Cash, and his covers. I mean, Jesus Christ when I hear Hurt, my fucking spine tingles!! After his version came out Trent Reznor even went so far as to say that Hurt now belongs to Johnny Cash!! Out of nowhere, it became his … I mean that’s some heady shit(praise). But Guns N’ Roses must lay claim to the greatest of all time. Live And Let Die is so, so fucking incredible!! What they did with that song just blows my mind … this was Axl in his prime, and the band at their best and until a few days ago I would have said the best cover of all time!! But Sympathy For The Devil is equally fucking awesome … I don’t know which one is better, they’re both motherfucking great!! Throw in Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Nazareth’s Hair Of The Dog … two more songs validating my opinion, and there it is, there we have it, the greatest cover band!! Go ahead, prove me wrong. Can’t do it!!
I went to a trendy, hip bakery today and the young female owner seeing that I was curious about a particular bread (actually it was a large bun) was insistent on letting me sample it. It was unique in that the complete exterior had a blackened, crispy crust … very much reminiscent of what caramelized onions look like, but really darkened and tasting nothing like onions would if they were caramelized. Oh, and it appeared to have an almost panko breadcrumb-ish like coating and the inside also had bits of this blackened crispy goodness mixed in as well, but was very light and fluffy … surprisingly, it was remarkably airy. I really was amazed at how good it was, and loved the balance of the textures!! Just curious, has anybody else ever seen, or tried this before?