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As soon as summer hits, everyone’s chanting for the grill. Myself included. Some of the first things I christen the grill with at the first glimmer of summer are sesame-crusted ahi tuna steaks and cedar plank salmon.
But I think grilled veggies are a tad underrated. I mean I get it: no one takes an evening stroll and sticks their nose up in the air to take in the aroma of grilled zucchini wafting throughout the neighborhood—but grilled veggies are worth getting excited about! And I hope to get you stoked about this verdant bundle of grilled broccoli rabe drizzled with a rich Romesco sauce and topped with crunchy almonds.
Grilled Broccoli Rabe With Romesco.
Summer sides usually seem like an afterthought. We all prefer to throw our attention to meats and their punchy rubs and tangy sauces. And hey, we shouldn’t stop doing that! But I think our side-bound greens deserve a little more than a spritz of lemon sometimes, don’t you?
Enter Romesco sauce: creamy, dreamy, peppery, and nutty.
Romesco sauce originated in Spain. The red pepper and almond-based blend was created by fishermen in the area and was meant to be eaten with fish. In fact, my first taste of Romesco was slathered over a beautiful sea bass. I fell in love with it immediately. But why limit such a beautiful blend to fish? I knew it would pair amazingly with some seasonal greens, so I decided to drizzle it over some bright and crunchy broccoli rabe—and it was magnificent.
Grilling Broccoli Rabe.
Because broccoli rabe a mustardy kick that some may find overpowering and a little bitter, it can be toned down with a quick dip into some boiling salt water (this process is called blanching). When you roast these greens on a flatbread or blend it into a smoothie, that zingy punch is easily masked by other flavors. But when you’re grilling it solo, I suggest giving it a hot bath in salt water first, just to mellow things out.
After a good soak, you can pat these green gems dry, toss them in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill them to a slight char. The result should leave you with a mellowed out flavor and a tender crunch.
If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3
Grilled Broccoli Rabe With Romesco
Tender grilled broccoli rabe is smothered in a rich red pepper and almond sauce, then topped with crunchy toasted almonds. This is the side dish your summer needs!
- 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
- 14.5 oz carton or can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted; keep 3/4 cup for sauce and leave 1/4 cup for garnish. *See notes for toasting.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Grilled Broccoli Rabe.
- 2 bunches of broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
- 2-4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- Grilling basket or bag This isn't totally necessary, but definitely recommended.
Place all of the ingredients (don't forget to set aside 1/4 cup of the toasted almonds for garnish) into a blender and blend until smooth. If you prefer a more textured consistency, you can pulse the ingredients until you reach your desired texture. When done, transfer your sauce to a jar or bottle and set it aside.
Grilled Broccoli Rabe.
To mellow out the kick of broccoli rabe, blanch it prior to grilling it. *See notes for the blanching process.
Once you've blanched your greens, dab them dry with a clean towel and set them into a large bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over your greens, hit them with some salt and pepper, and toss'em with your bare hands. (Depending on the size of the bowl you're using, you may have to do this in batches.)
Let the broccoli rabe sit for about ten minutes; in the meantime, preheat your grill to medium heat.
When your grill is ready, place the broccoli rabe into a grilling basket or bag. Again, depending on your materials, you might have to do this in batches; have a large clean plate or bowl ready to transfer your grilled broccoli rabe to at the grill between batches.
When all of your broccoli rabe is grilled and ready, set it on a serving plate or wide and shallow serving bowl, drizzle it with the Romesco sauce, and top with the 1/4 cup of toasted almonds you left aside. Keep some extra Romesco handy at the table for extra sauciness.
*Toasting almonds: Heat a dry pan over low heat. Place your almonds into the pan and let them toast, stirring often, for about five minutes or until the almonds turn a light golden hue and become aromatic.
*Blanching broccoli rabe: Fill a pot with enough water to cover all of your greens and bring the water to a rolling boil; add kosher salt to the boiling water.
If you want to keep broccoli rabe’s strong mustardy kick, blanch the greens for ten seconds, drain them, and immerse them into an ice bath to keep them from cooking more.
If you're looking for a more mellow flavor and tender bite, cook the greens for 2-4 minutes.
Cooking time depends on your “kick” and “crunch” preference.