Monday, September 28, 2015

Arugula 101

Arugula (Eruca Sativa) has many different names around the world including salad rocket, rucola, recoli, rugula, colewort and roquette. In the United States it is mostly referred to as arugula or rocket. Arugula is a pungent green vegetable which resembles lettuce. It is actually part of the Brassicaceae family which includes mustards, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to name a few. Arugula is an annual plant that first made it’s appearance in print in the United States in a 1960’s New York Times article by Craig Claiborne, the prolific food critic and cookbook writer. There are several varieties of arugula and to learn more go to this site from Cornell University

Arugula is native to the Mediterranean regions from Morocco to Portugal in the west to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey to the east. It has been grown since the Greek and Roman times and is very popular in Italian cuisine. Arugula was traditionally collected in the wild or grown in gardens with parsley and basil. It is highly drought resistant and easy to grow. Did you know arugula was considered an aphrodisiac by classical authors, “et veneris revocans eruca moranteum” (the rocket excites the sexual desire of the drowsy people)? Arugula was forbidden from monasteries for this reason in the Middle Ages. Also, arugula is known as rocket due to it’s “rocket-fast” growth speed. It is grown for its leaves but also for it’s seed which make a flavorful oil called Taramira or Jamba oil in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. To learn more about arugula go here and here.

To Store

Arugula is highly perishable and will not keep well if not properly stored. Before you store it in the refrigerator wrap a damp paper towel around the roots or bottom of the bunch. Place in a perforated bag or wrap in a wet tea towel. Arugula can also be stored by standing it up in a glass of water in the refrigerator. You can also wrap the “bouquet”  loosely in a bag to prevent moisture loss. Fresh arugula will keep for 3 to 4 days.
To Nourish

According to Medical News Today “consuming 2 cups of arugula will provide 20% of vitamin A, 50% of vitamin K and 8% of your vitamin C, folate and calcium needs for the day.” Arugula also ranks in the top 20 in regards to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index or ANDI.  ANDI measures the vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content in relation to the calorie content. To earn a top score a food must provide a high amount of nutrients for a small amount of calories. There is also research that links arugula to cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes prevention. It may also improve exercise and athletic performance. For more information about the health benefits of arugula go here.

To Prepare 

With its spicy and bold taste arugula is usually eaten raw in salads to add punch. But it can also be made into pesto, sprinkled on just cooked pizza or tossed into hot pasta. It can be a condiment for meat or fish, added to egg dishes, juices and smoothies. Arugula makes a wonderful addition to soups and is great with sandwiches, wraps or flatbreads. Arugula can also be sautéed and steamed. Here are two great articles from The Kitchn and NPR that sing the praises of arugula as an ingredient to add zip to your recipes.

To Try

Pear and Arugula Smoothie with Ginger and Walnuts

Arugula Pesto
Five Herb Pesto
Arugula Salsa Verde
Bruschetta with Shrimp, Tarragon and Arugula
Arugula and Goat Cheese Tartine
Avocado, Asparagus and Arugula Tartine
Carrot Pancakes with Salted Yogurt and Arugula
Arugula and Fontina Frittata
Beet Carpaccio with Arugula, Radishes and Grapefruit
Roasted Beet and Blood Orange Salad with Spicy Greens
Watermelon and Arugula Salad
Arugula and Roasted Fruit Salad with Panettone Croutons
Pomegranate, Arugula Salad
Grilled Peaches, Bitter Greens and Goat Cheese Salad
Sweet and Spicy Autumn Salad
Arugula, Pear, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Warm Spiced Chickpea and Arugula Salad
Lemony White Bean Salad with Arugula
Arugula Corn Salad with Bacon
Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan
Potato Salad with Yogurt, Arugula and Dill
Potato Salad with Arugula and Dijon Vinaigrette
Macaroni Salad with Arugula
Green Rice with Smoked Paprika
Arugula and Potato Soup
Creamy Arugula and Lettuce Soup with Goat Cheese
Chicken and Orzo Soup with Arugula and Basil
Sautéed Arugula with Pancetta and Garlic
Grilled Turkey, Brie and Apple Butter Sandwich with Arugula
Caesar Club Sandwich
Smoked BLT with Arugula
Rolled Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Parsley Aioli
Toasted Turkey Sandwich with Cranberry Sauce and Arugula
Arugula, Mozzarella, Tomato on Focaccia
Juicy Butter Burger Sliders with Sweet Russian Sauce and Arugula Pesto
Fig and Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza
Arugula and Crispy Shrimp Pizza
White Pizzas with Arugula
Parmesan Arugula Dumplings
Ravioli with Arugula, Tomatoes and Pancetta
Ravioli with Arugula, Pine Nuts and Raisins
Brown Butter Tortilli with Arugula
Arugula Pesto Spaghettini
Tagliatelle with Bacon, Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
BLT Bucatini
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Tomatoes, Peppers and Arugula
Baked Halibut with Arugula Salsa Verde
Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt
Roast Chicken with Bread and Arugula Salad
Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce on a Bed of Arugula
Crunchy Parmesan Chicken with Arugula
Seared Rib Eye Steak with Arugula and Roasted Pepper Salad
Stuffed Flank Steak with Arugula
Marinated Lamb Shoulder Chops with Tzatziki, Arugula and Feta

To Use

Enjoy pizza that tastes like it just came out of a brick oven. The Sur La Table® Cordierite Pizza Stone, cooks pizza in the oven or on the grill. Great for cooking and reheating bread, pastries and baked goods. Made of cordierite, which is fired at a higher temperature than ceramic and can withstand thermal shock, easy-care stones require no seasoning or conditioning. (Sur La Table, $59.95)