Do you know …Why arugula also is known as rocket?
Technically, arugula’s nickname is derived from its scientific name “eruca sativa.” However, some food- and gardening-lovers’ web sites claim that the leafy vegetable gets its name for the lightning fast speed at which it grows.
Arugula is a cool season plant with an aromatic scent and rich nutty flavor. Its seeds will sprout within a few days of planting, and in the hotter summer months, it will bolt (or go to seed) quickly. However, careful maintenance and regular clippings can help this tasty green last almost year-long.
Arugula is very low in calories, containing three calories per ½ cup. It has a good balance of potassium as well as vitamins A and C, and magnesium. While it’s often used in salads, it also makes a great side dish. Try it steamed, sautéed lightly in olive, or on top of such items as pizza. It also tastes wonderful as a pesto. Simply combine it in a blender or food processor with walnuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
Because arugula is such a fast-growing plant, it also is quite perishable. It is best to use it within a few days of purchasing it, or to keep a plant in a container or garden for daily use. According to the web site, recipechart.com, the smaller the leaf the milder the flavor. As a result, the smallest leaves work best in salads while larger leaves are more appropriate for cooking. In the spring and fall months, a wild arugula also is available. It has a stronger, nuttier taste and often works well as a garnish.
If you’re looking for other uses for arugula, check out Pattie Garrett’s recent story about her visit to Longlesson Farm by clicking here.
Here is a recipe she shares from Cook’s Illustrated:
Grilled Sirloin Steak Topped with Arugula
• 2 1 pound grilled sirloin steaks (or boneless strip or rib-eye)
• 6 Tablespoons olive oil
• 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
• salt and pepper
• 8 ounce baby arugula
• ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Slice grilled steaks thin against grain.
Fan slices on large platter.
Whisk oil, lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl.
Add arugula and three-quarters of Parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
Arrange arugula down center of platter, allowing it to overlap steak. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over steak and arugula.