Arugula is a salad green which belongs to the mustard family and has been popular over ages. It is also known as rocket, roquette, rucola, rugula or Italian cress – whatever name it is called by refers to the same thing. This grows well in the Mediterranean regions. Though the herb has a strong, peppery flavour, the baby rocket leaves are milder. This green colored cress has a distinct aroma and is dark green in colour.
Not only rocket leaves has been used as a popular ingredient, the seeds of this plant also has been very popular and has immense use. It is used to flavour oils. The leaves can be easily grown in a home garden and it should also be noted that the older the leaves the tastier they get.
History of Arugula Recipes
This salad green has been popular since the times of the Romans. It was not considered to be a salad green at that time but as a vegetable. The leaves were eaten raw or cooked whereas the seeds were used to flavour oils. This recipe has been used by Italians and the French since a long time, but the popularity in America or Britain is quite recent. The salad green is loved by many and is now widely available.
Types of the Green
The Rocket green can be of various types. Some may be of a strong taste whereas others may be milder in taste. Among many there are seven types of these leaves which are of either Italian or American origin.
Arugula,Rucola Coltivata,Ruchetta Selvatica,Rocket Selvatica Sel Liscia,Rucola Selvatica,Runway Arugula,Rucola Selvatica A and Foglia Di Olivo are the seven types of the garden salad.
Cuisines using the Leaves
The culinary use of these leaves is most popular in Italian and French cuisine. It is slowly gaining popularity in American and British cuisine also.
Preferable Cooking Methods of Rocket leaves
Arugula can be cooked in varieties of ways. It can be cooked and used like spinach but only has a stronger taste. It can be steamed, sautéed, baked, grilled or boiled. It can also be consumed raw as a part of salad. These leaves are also used to make pesto sauces which can be served with pasta, grilled chicken or fish.
Variations of Arugula Recipes
Arugula is an important ingredient in many popular dishes.
- It is found in almost every salad along with some mild flavouring salad greens and vegetables or just on its own with some vinaigrette dressing.
- Rocket is also a favourite topping for pizzas.
- Pesto made from these leaves tastes very nice when served with pasta or potatoes.
- Baby rucola leaves can make a sandwich taste different when added to it as a filling.
- It can also be added to omelettes for a delicious flavour.
- Cold soup which has rocket as the main ingredient has a unique taste. One can add peas and walnuts to this soup to make the flavour milder.
- Grilled chicken arugula with farfalle is also another tasty recipe made from rocket leaves.
- Olive, rocket green and walnut pate is another mouth-watering dish made from these leaves which can be served along with other dishes as an appetizer.
Among other popular arugula recipes, grilled fig and rocket green salad, linguine with arugula, pine nuts and parmesan cheese and chicken with goat’s cheese and rocket green are quite popular.
Nutritive Value of Rocket
Arugula has a high content of Vitamins A and C. The calorie content of this salad green is just two per half cup. It is considered to be a powerful anti-cancer food. These leaves also help to energize the body and purify blood.
Although the salad green is available throughout the year, it is during the summer months that the best quality rocket can be picked. The leaves contain a lot of dirt and soil and needs to be cleaned immediately after purchase. The best way to store the leaves of the green is by cleaning and drying it and putting it in a zip lock pouch and storing in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The leaves do not remain fresh for longer and needs to be consumed within two days of purchase.
Non- Food Uses of the leaves
Oil made out of Arugula has high medicinal properties.