The first time I created this recipe I used shaved asparagus in it. While shaving the asparagus can be time consuming, you don't need to even blanch it because the shavings are so tender. You just shave it, mix together the rest of the ingredients and you are done. I recently had a client ask if I could use a different vegetable in the salad instead so I tried the broccoli rabe. I have to admit, I generally don't like broccoli rabe. It is too bitter for me. But I loved it in this salad. I have been converted.
This salad makes a great vegan side dish if you just omit the Parmesan or use a dairy free cheese instead. I will be making this for a vegan wedding. You can also consider making this with green beans and I bet even cucumber would be good. Or add toasted bread chunks and it becomes a Panzanella. The options are just endless!
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 bunch of Broccoli Rabe
1/2 pint Grape tomatoes, halved
Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon
10 large Basil leaves, chopped
1/8 cup Pine Nuts
1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
First you need to blanch the broccoli rabe. Cut the broccoli rabe in half. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Place the broccoli rabe in the boiling water (leaves and all) for about 2-3 minutes. Just until it starts to get tender.
Drain the broccoli rabe then place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain once again, then pat dry with a towel.
Place the broccoli rabe in a bowl with the tomatoes and basil.
At this point I like to toast the pine nuts, but you don't have to. Place in a pan over medium heat and toast until they just become fragrant. About 5 minutes.
Dress the salad with the zest, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. Plate the salad and top with the Parmesan and pine nuts. If you aren't serving right away you can leave the salad in the fridge and top with the nuts and cheese just before serving.