10 October 2006

Benito vs. the Produce Section: Edamame & Rapini

Edamame
I'm perhaps the last person in my circle of friends to try Edamame, which has exploded in popularity over the past decade. That's got a lot to do with the fact that we're talking about soybeans, and I was raised to view them as a commodity crop and source of fake meat products.

I'm descended from farmers on both sides of my family, though these days none of my relatives actually farm. We own the land and manage the affairs, but don't actually till the soil. On Dad's side, it's all cotton. On Mom's side, they grow cotton, corn, and soybeans. The beans pictured above aren't from the family farm, but they're the first whole soybeans I've ever eaten. I picked up a bag of frozen pods at the grocery store, and gave them a quick boil. I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. Rich and savory, and not that filling. Sort of like the world's best lima bean. I served some recently with a little butter, salt and pepper for additional flavor.

This is probably the first of my "weird vegetable experiments" that I'm going to eat on a regular basis.

Rapini
This vegetable goes by a lot of names, but for the sake of clarity I'll go with rapini or broccoli raab, even though it's not related to broccoli. Given that fresh spinach is still a danger here in the states, many people are looking for alternatives. What a perfect time for my voyage through the underappreciated greens! I made a variation on the pasta dish I cooked for my 30th birthday party. I used campanelle or bell-shaped pasta, combined with sautéed mushrooms, garlic, a cream sauce, Romano cheese, and crawfish tails. For color and added nutrients, I wilted down the large bunch of rapini pictured at right on the stovetop griddle with some olive oil and added it after the cream sauce. My dining companions remarked about how delicious the spinach was--I was quick and eager to give credit to the lesser-known rapini. It's a little more bitter than spinach, but that balanced nicely against the sweetness of the crawfish tails.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

"Sort of like the world's best lima bean."

*laugh* I love that description!