A vegetable related to both the cabbage and turnip family, the leafy green broccoli raab has 6- to 9-inch stalks and scattered clusters of tiny broccolilike buds. It's also called American gai lan, brocoletti di rape, Italian broccoli, rabe, rape and rapini. The greens have a pungent, bitter flavor that is not particularly popular in America where, more often than not, they're used as animal fodder. Italians are particularly fond of broccoli raab, however, and cook it in a variety of ways including frying, steaming and braising. It can also be used in soups or salads. Broccoli raab should be wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerated for no more than 5 days.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.