A typical ingredient of the South of Italy, “cime di rape (read: ra-peh)” is a cousin of the chinese vegetable “chye sim”, with similar flavours, perhaps more bitter than the latter. I was very glad to find it at the local markets, as it is one of my favourites. It can be eaten on its own as a side to the main courses or with bread, or to season pasta. For this recipe, we are preparing it as a side.
Watch the video to see how we prepared the dish, and for all the important tips on this cooking technique.
5 minutes of preparation, 5 minutes of cooking, 20-40 minutes of simmering.
Simmering time greatly varies depending on the toughness of the chye sim you have.
This recipe was prepared for a dinner of 4 persons.
extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
1kg (6 packets) of chye sim
800g sausage (At room temperature. Leave out of the fridge for about 1 hour before cooking.) We used chorizo sausage which is similar to Southern Italian sausages which are spiced.
coarse salt to taste Be careful with the amount of salt if your sausages are already salted.
I. Clean the vegetable
With your fingers, pluck the tender leafy parts of the chye sim and rinse them. Discard the tough stalks.
II. Cook the sausage
In a large pan or wok and on a low flame, add a generous amount of olive oil and garlic. Wait for the oil to heat up for about 2-3 minutes.
While waiting for the oil to become hot, use a fork to make holes on the sausages. The holes will help the sausages to cook more thoroughly and exude more flavours into the oil.
When the oil is hot, raise the flame to medium and add the sausages one by one to cover the base of your pan. When the sausages are lightly browned on the bottom, turn them to cook the other side. If your sausages are cold,raise to a higher flame to maintain the oil temperature.
III. Cook the leaves
When the sausages are lightly browned on both sides, add the leaves, sprinkle coarse salt and olive oil, and cover the pan. Lower the flame to a medium-low and leave to simmer. The leaves will cook in their own steam.
After 5 minutes, stir the leaves gently. Do not disturb the sausages at the bottom.
When the leaves have started to lose colour and wilted in 10-15 minutes, stir the leaves and sausages. Time may vary depending on the toughness of your chye sim.If they are quite tough, increase the flame slightly.
When the leaves have lost colour and wilted, the dish is ready. Make a final adjustment to the preferred saltiness and serve warm.
We served ours with homemade pizza bianca romana (for me) and plain brown rice (for my wife).
Where we bought our ingredients in Singapore:
Chye sim – Tiong Bahru Market This is a common local vegetable which can be found in all wet markets and major supermarkets.
Chorizo sausage – Ryan’s Grocery next to Cold Storage at Great World City