Broccoli Rabe is wonderfully crunchy, somewhat bitter and a little tangy. Blanching the rabe first removes some of its bitterness. The leftovers are great cold the next day!
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice or white wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup canola (or olive oil) plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for sautéing
Pinch red pepper chili flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds (optional)
Vegetables and noodles:
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 tablespoon canola oil
10 white sliced (or shiitake) mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 green onions, chopped
2 cups cooked tofu, cut into 1-inch blocks (pre-marinated works best)
1 packet (12 ounces) rice, soba, or udon noodles
For sesame dressing:
In a small bowl combine sesame oil, vinegar, salt and black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil, whisking to incorporate. To add a little kick to the dressing, sprinkle red pepper chili flakes and whisk again.
For broccoli rabe:
Blanch broccoli rabe: leave bundled and uncut. Fill a deep bowl with 10-12 ice cubes and water for ice water bath. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once water is boiling, hold the rabe by the end of the stems and dunk into the boiling water until only 2 inches are showing, and hold it there for 1 minute. Take rabe bunch out of the water and immediately dunk it into the ice water bath, making sure it is completely covered. Let the rabe sit in the ice bath for 2-3 minutes, then drain on paper towel and pat dry.
For noodle salad:
- Heat oil in a deep sauté pan. Add broccoli, mushrooms and bell pepper and stir. When the mushrooms have turned a shade darker and the bell peppers have softened slightly, add green onions and stir again.
- In the meantime, prepare noodles using the directions on the package. Don’t overcook!
- Once the noodles are cooked and strained add them to the vegetables and toss.
- Remove from the heat, and add the dressing to the noodles and vegetables. Toss together to cover completely.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for appearance and taste, if using.