Purple rapini is a member of the mustard family. The Chinese name for it is Hon Tsai Tai. In addition to the leaves, the flowers and tender stems are also edible. The flowers can be snacked upon, added to salad, or briefly cooked.
One large bunch of purple rapini
Oil or butter
Two cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
Lemon zest, optional
Red pepper flakes, optional
1) Wash and drain the rapini.
2) Remove the flowers and set aside.
3) Remove the leaves and tender stalks. Leave the older woodier stalks.
4) Add oil or butter, then one teaspoon of minced garlic, to a large sauté pan over high heat.
5) After ten seconds, add the rapini leaves and stems to the pan, along with two tablespoons of cold water. Season with salt and, optionally, lemon zest and/or red pepper flakes.
6) Sauté until the greens wilt, about one minute.
7) Remove the pan from the burner and add the reserved flowers.
8) Serve immediately, either as a side dish or combined with cooked pasta.
Note: The elegant purple rapini flower photo is courtesy of the photographer, Russell McDougal.