This dish highlights the bold flavor of broccoli rabe with it’s nutty and distinctive bitter taste, that is much loved in southern italian cooking. I love broccoli rabe not only for the taste , but also that it’s packed with loads of vitamin C and A as well as potassium, while being low in calories. So this delicious and light dish features an easy pesto , grilled shrimp and bread kicked up with some red chili flakes for a little heat. It’s perfect light, delicious and vibrant colored meal!
From by the bay wishing you a bold broccoli rabe food memories!
Broccoli Rabe Pesto with Grilled Shrimp and Bread
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough lower stems removed
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup slice almonds nuts, toasted
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
- fine grey sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing (optional)
In a resealable plastic bag add shrimp, 1 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Let shrimp marinade in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes and then immediately plunge in the salted ice water. This will prevent the broccoli rabe from being overcooked and will set the lovely green color.
Drain the broccoli rabe and squeeze out any excess water. Pull out about 1/2 cup of the broccoli rabe, especially the florets and set aside. Place the remaining broccoli rabe ( approximately 1 cup) in the bowl of a food processor and puree until it is a coarse paste. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, almonds, lemon zest, lemon juice and parmigiano and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature.
In a small bowl add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic and red chili flakes and mix. Cut the ciabatta bread length-wise in half and brush the inside with the olive oil mixture.
Prepare grill . Remove shrimp from marinade and cook until the shrimp turns pink, about 1 1/2 minute on each side depending on the heat of the grill. Remove shrimp and place bread on the grill , cut side with olive oil past down and grill until toasted brown. Remove from grill.
To serve dish add shrimp , cover with broccoli rabe pesto and cut bread into slices arranging around the shrimp and pesto. Drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.
Note: This could also be make on stove top in a grill pan. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil to cook shrimp on both sides until pink and then grill bread face down in pan until toasted.
Tip: When buying broccoli rabe look for bright green and crisp leaves. Never buy with any yellow leaves.