Hey Mr. Marketing Man. What The Heck is Broccolini?


What the heck is Broccolini?

I swear it’s a new invention– if food can be an “invention”. Broccolini is, in fact, a copyrighted brand name– if vegetables can have brand names. So naturally, you know me, I have curmudgeonly resisted buying it. Because some vegetable cooked up by marketing geniuses looking for a vegetable to fill a market niche just has to be bad, huh? You know the niche I am talking about too. You are a part of it and so am I. We are the people always looking for something new. And we have a specific list of requirements when it comes to the latest thing for our plates. Pretty. Healthy. Easy. Delicious.

Enter Broccolini. It’s presence on the plate and even its name is reminiscent of the Italian staple Rapini (broccoli rabe), without that annoying bitter edge most kids and even some adults won’t get near. Making it: Pretty. Healthy. Easy. Delicious.

Let’s face it. These marketing geniuses know exactly what people like us are looking for– they’ve done studies. So naturally, I resisted it. I refuse to be studied. I mean the head honchos at Big Agro can’t manipulate me, right? Right?


Wrong. I bought some recently and guess what? I like it better than Broccoli- and I like Broccoli! That’s right I drank the Broccolini Kool-Aid. Which means I am on the Broccolini Bandwagon. The latest Broccolini Booster. A Cruciferous Crusader. Shall I go on? I could ya know…

Of course, I am still a food snob, so Broccolini will never replace Rapini in my mind. But guess what? One taste and you will see that Broccolini and Rapini are not interchangeable. They are not even supposed to be. That means there is room for both veggies in my life.

While it is true that Broccolini was developed by crossbreeding standard Broccoli and Chinese Broccoli– most particularly to appeal to a growingly sophisticated American foodie market. And while it’s sweet palate and super healthy profile (rich in many vitamins and minerals with high amounts of vitamin C, potassium, iron, fiber, and vitamin A) are a Modern Day Marketing Man’s Dream Come True. There’s no denying the vegetable has real appeal.

Too bad it took a marketing genius to point that out to me.

Broccolini with Fried Lemon serves 4 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1 lb broccolini
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt, plus more for boiling
  • 1 lemon

Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and plunge into the ice-water bath. Drain again, then dry well.

Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet set over medium-high heat. Cut the lemon in half. Use one half to make long thin strips of lemon zest, then juice that half into a small bowl. Slice the other half into wedges for garnish.

Add the lemon zest to the hot oil. It should sizzle and fry, but not get brown, about 15 seconds. Add the Broccolini, lemon juice and a pinch of salt (optional). Cooked until just warmed through and tender crisp. Transfer to a platter or bowl garnished with lemon wedges.


Greg Henry

Sippity Sup