Cime Di Rapa
In the Naples area, where this vegetable is commonly grown and eaten, it is better known as friarelli, or “winter broccoli”, from the Spanish term frio-grelos.
Not to be confused with friggitelli, which are cone-shaped sweet green peppers.
The vegetable known as cime di rapa consists of the budding inflorescences (and leaves, which feature in numerous southern Italian recipes) of Brassica Sylvestris Rapa, a plant related to cabbage which grows spontaneously in the Mediterranean region.
The plant is characterised by a large root, more or less long and pinnate leaves (i.e. fragmented along the central axis, like a feather), and fleshy inflorescences similar to broccoli.
Once the flowers open, they are no longer edible.
Although this is a typically Italian vegetable, nowadays it is also grown and consumed in America and Australia, where it was introduced by Italian migrants.
Like cabbage, rapa and its tips have been used and valued in the kitchen since ancient times.