Broccoli Rabe on Toast with Tapenade and Goat's Milk Cheese

Source: Deborah Madison, cookbook author.

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

I could eat broccoli rabe three times a week, not only with pasta but this way—forked over a big slab of toasted country bread, covered with olive paste and a thin shaving of cheese. If goat Gouda doesn’t appeal, try aged Gruyere cheese, Italian Fontina, or Sonoma Dry Jack cheese.

Serves 4


1 cup pitted Nicoise or Gaeta olives
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, or salt capers, rinsed first and then soaked
Grated zest of ½ large lemon and fresh lemon juice to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Plenty of freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
1 hefty bunch of broccoli rabe with small, tight buds
A few pinches of red hot pepper flakes
Sea salt
2 to 3 large slices of country bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
About ⅓ cup olive paste or Tapenade
1 garlic clove
Thinly sliced goat’s milk gouda



  1. Pound the olives, capers, garlic, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, the parsley, and pepper in a mortar or food processor, leaving a little texture. Stir in the olive oil so that the tapenade is loose enough to spread easily. Taste for lemon juice and add more, if needed.

  2. While you heat quarts of water for the broccoli rabe, peel the larger stems. When the water is boiling, add salt and the greens. Cook until the stems are tender, about 5 minutes, then scoop the greens into a bowl, holding back a cup of cooking water. Chop them coarsely.
  3. Warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, then the cooked broccoli rabe with the ½ cup or so of the reserved water so that there will be plentiful juice. Cook until it’s sufficiently tender and hot. Taste for salt.
  4. Toast the Bread, spread with tapenade and lay the cheese on top. Set the bread on plates, then smother it with the greens, including a spoonful of the juices. Shave a little more cheese over the top and serve.


Farmers Market Ingredients