Image by urbanfoodie33 via Flickr
I was looking over the produce selection at DePiero's Farm in Montvale on Wednesday afternoon when I saw a woman picking up a bunch of broccoli rabe (photo) -- the dark green, bitter, Italian variety many people prefer over the standard vegetable.
I tapped her on the shoulder, then asked, "Why does my broccoli rabe turn brown?" She answered immediately, "You cooked it too long." Ah-ha.
She described how she prepares it: A few minutes in boiling water, where it turns bright green, "to remove some of the bitterness." Then, she adds it to hot olive oil with chopped garlic and a little red pepper flakes, cooking it for well under 10 minutes, until it is tender but not limp.
Over at the eggplants bin, another woman complains her husband is "a pain in the neck," because he insists she prepare it Italian-style, with an egg wash and breading. I say, "Do you fry it? The eggplant soaks up so much oil. I grill slices on the stove with a little olive oil and salt."
"I don't fry it. I bake it." Voila.
I stopped at DiPiero's for a cup of coffee with a friend after we left a meeting in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y. The hilltop farm store is next to U.S. headquarters for Mercedes-Benz, where I once picked up new models to evaluate for my automobile road test column in The Record.
I made sure I picked up four ears of bicolor Jersey corn for dinner, to accompany fried, wild-caught flounder from Costco in Hackensack and wilted, fresh spinach in garlic and oil from H Mart in Little Ferry. I steamed the corn, and it was so sweet, we ate it as is.
I also found a large, stainless-steel pot with two steamer inserts at the Korean supermarket for $29.99. It will allow me to steam vegetables and frozen, wild-caught sockeye salmon in sake, soy sauce, sesame oil and lemon at the same time or prepare forty Korean dumplings at once.
DePiero's Farm, 300 W. Grand Ave., Montvale; 201-391-4576.