Acrid, resentful, biting, distasteful. All words that describe or define the word bitterness. But it’s not always a negative trait. Bitterness can be a good thing….in the form of broccoli rabe! The bite and bitterness of of these greens are the qualities I crave in this vegetable. Raw and unbridled, they are almost unpalatable, but with a little heat, they effuse a complexity of flavors that stand on their own. They are tamed, but still bite back a little with their peppery kick. I love my bitter greens.
This recipe is my mom’s creation, a variation on my grandmother’s. My grandmother actually uses a bitter green called Shepherd’s Purse or naengi namul, which is a green more commonly used in Asia than it is here in the States. The pungent earthiness from the dwaen jang (thick soybean paste) aptly tames the bite of the greens. A generous helping of these greens and a bowl of steamed white rice makes for a hearty meal.
Country-style Broccoli Rabe
2 bunches of broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons dwaen jang
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 stalks green onions, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
1 – Wash and rinse the greens and trim the ends of the stalks.
2 – Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the greens for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
3 – Drain and rinse the greens in cold water. Set aside.
4 – Mix the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the greens. Toss until greens are thoroughly coated with the dwaen jang mixture. (Mixing with your hands is the best!)
4 – Adjust seasoning for taste. Serve and enjoy!