At a certain pick-your-own-food-and-stamp-your-card-then-pay-at-the-exit restaurant, the salad bar includes a delectable rapini, even though it looks like it is prepared with nothing more than steaming or boiling, followed by sprinkling with olive oil and toasted sesame.

Yet my many attempts at duplicating the flavor have all resulted in an unpleasant rapini that is quite bitter.

I've tried steaming and boiling. I've used a lavish amount of water. I've cooked the stems twice to three times as long as the leaves/tips/flowers, as one might do with asparagus, all to no avail.

What is the secret to preparing rapini correctly?

  • 2
    I think the secret is in either the type or how it is grown. I know a friend who has a farm and his wife grows Rapini and he swears it is not bitter like store-bought types. Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 2:57
  • 1
    @SunnyskyguyEE75 I was worried that the difference would be procurement rather than treatment.
    – Calaf
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 9:22
  • 1
    Maybe the restaurant adds sugar.
    – GdD
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 8:09
  • @GdD Very interesting! Just like one might obscure the flavor of low-grade coffee beans one is stuck with, with a bit of sugar. That would be cheating though. It'd be healthier to forego rapini altogether.
    – Calaf
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


To get the best out of rapini, you need to blanch it first. Use well-salted water. Detach the thickest stems from the leaves (these can be peeled and used). Add to boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the water and chill (if using later), or add to a pan with plenty of olive oil and garlic to finish cooking. Remember, though, that bitterness is a characteristic of this vegetable, so you will not completely eliminate it.

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