How to Cook Spigarello

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Meet Spigarello (Spee-guhreh-low) the new green on the block. (It’s that curly/wavy leafy thing in your FarmBoxes this week).

Spigarello is native to southern Italy (specifically Naples) but its seeds have recently been imported to Southern California. Like many other designer Italian items in Los Angeles, it has become super trendy. Not to mention it’s kale-like heritage and super-food status.

So, what is Spigarello?

Believe it or not, spigarello is the cooky crazy member of the extensive broccoli family. Yeah, another broccoli to remember. After your basic broccoli, his younger brother Broccolini, and Uncle Broccoli Rabe, it’s no wonder people get them confused. Oh, and don’t forget their estranged cousin Rapini, who’s also related.

So, where does Spigarello fit in? Well, I guess the great-uncle? The ‘parent’ of Broccoli Rabe, Spigarello is formally called Cima di Rapa, which translates to “turnip top” but is also loosely translated to broccoli rabe.

But, how does Spigarello taste?

Spigarello broccoli have wavy edible leaves with thin fibrous stems. The flavor of Spigarello is mild, slightly grassy and sweet; void of the bitterness often associated with field greens. Its texture is tender, succulent and crunchy. Basically, it’s really good and doesn’t take long to cook!

How to Cook Spigarello

Being a tender leafy green, you can cook spigarello in any way you would use a black or tuscan kale or a chard. While it can be eaten raw, it comes to life after a quick steam, sautee, or massage of citrus.

Spigarello pairs well with the flavors of Southern Italy! Don’t know what those are? No problem. We love spigarello braised with anchovies, pancetta (or bacon), cheeses (especially aged sheep’s cheeses), garlic, citrus, legumes, peppers, potatoes, onions, shallots and vinaigrettes.