VEGETABLES: Bitter Flavor, Sweet Profits

Bitter Flavor, Sweet Profits

Bored with broccoli? Sick of spinach? Can't cope with any more kale? For diners with vegetable ennui, a trendy alternative is broccoli rabe, an Italian staple that is catching on with a wider audience. Broccoli rabe (usually pronounced rob) is high in vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. All its parts -- stem, leaf and flower -- are edible and have a distinctive, mildly bitter flavor. Most chefs serve it as a side dish, cooked with oil and garlic or tossed with pasta. Says Scott Whitman, sous-chef at San Francisco's Fog City Diner: "Everyone is more interested in unique foods....

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