Spring is the perfect time to look for and to enjoy a little raab. Belonging to the mustard family and also known as rapini, raab is closely related to turnip greens. It is sometimes mistaken for a type of broccoli because very small broccoli-like heads appear on most varieties.
It is often planted in the fall when it grows to several inches, and then remains partially green but somewhat wilted looking over the winter. When the weather turns slightly warm in early spring, raab begins to actively grow again and is ready to harvest in April and May.
This baguette sandwich features “Organic Hot Stuff” sauce by Carpinteria-based Edward and Sons Trading Company, Inc. It is the perfect complement to the sautéed raab, mushrooms, and red peppers.
To soften the baguette a little (although this step is not necessary) I like to spread a little Vegenaise on the baguette slices and grill them just before making the sandwich. You may choose to do this or not. The cheese is a wonderful addition to the fresh grilled veggies but if you want this sandwich to be vegan, just leave it off. No worries!
- 2 pounds raab (any woody stems trimmed off)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 8 ounces Cremini mushrooms (stems removed – cut into quarters)
- 1 small red onion (peeled and chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup roasted red peppers (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons The Wizard’s Organic Hot Stuff (Biologique)
- 1 fresh baguette (cut into 4 pieces and halved)
- 3 thick deli slices provolone cheese (cut in half)
Bring two inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add raab, cover, and cook for three minutes. Uncover, turn rabb with tongs, and cook three minutes more. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Chop coarsely and set aside.
Using a large skillet, sauté mushrooms in half of the olive oil over medium high heat for five to six minutes. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining 1½ tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic for eight minutes. Add red pepper flakes, raab, and mushrooms and sauté for five minutes more. Cook until all liquid has evaporated. Transfer to the large bowl, cover, and set aside.
Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and then, keeping the halves together, slice it into thirds (six total halves). Spread Vegenaise on each half and grill over medium high heat for a couple of minutes.
Divide raab mixture among the three bread bottoms, pour a tablespoon or more of the Wizard’s Organic Hot Stuff on that and top each with two of the cheese halves. Place sandwich bottoms in the oven and broil for two minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and place tops over sandwiches. Serve while still warm.
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Chef Randy has been a vegetarian for over 40 years and eats local and organic grain, fresh fruit, and vegetables as much as possible. He is known locally as the “Healthy Chef.” His column, Chef Randy, is syndicated in California newspapers. See his website at Valley-Vegetarian.com for more recipes.