Etymology: Italian, from Latin eruca. Arugula is a wild lettuce. Similar to cress, it belongs to the Cruciferae family.
Arugula, or rocket, grows as long narrow leaves of a delicate green. When young, it has a wonderful flavor with nutty notes, though many people prefer it when mature for its piquant, slightly bitter taste.
General tonic, diuretic. In the old days, planting arugula in convent gardens was forbidden since it was said to have aphrodisiac qualities!
Nutritional values per 100 g
Calories: 17; carbohydrates: 0.8 g; fat: 0.4 g; protein: 2.7 g; fiber 2.6 g.
Rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, beta-carotene, vitamins B, C and E.
Look for bunches of small young fresh leaves, narrow and rather pointed, with no blemishes.
Store in a cool dark place. Refrigerate for a few days, wrapped in a damp cloth or paper towel.
The wonderful taste of this green should not be overwhelmed by an excessively strong dressing.
When the shoots are young, arugula has a rather nutty flavor - simply sprinkle it with a little walnut oil.
When older, its flavor becomes sharper, almost mustardy: replace the vinegar in your vinaigrette with fruit juice.
It is a perfect accompaniment to mild cheeses and caramelized fruit.
The leaves can be used as an aromatic herb to flavor fresh cheeses, sauces, quiche, pizza and pasta.
It is often paired with olive oil, garlic, parmesan, goat cheese and raw ham.
It loses much of its flavor when cooked, though it can be steamed for a few minutes like spinach.
Spread an arugula leaf with cream cheese and smoked salmon, roll up; serve on a bed of arugula with a light cream dressing flavored with chives.
Serve with goat cheese and a basil vinaigrette sweetened with a touch of honey.
Pears roasted in butter with pine nuts.
Place on a bed of arugula, with gorgonzola and vinaigrette made with olive oil, sherry vinegar and a pear puréed in the blender.
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