Rocket Science: The Spicy Inexperienced, Additionally Identified As Arugula, Ought to Get One other Likelihood On Your Plate – Life-style – Aurora Advertiser – Aurora, MO
“Has anyone been to Whole Foods lately and seen what they ask for arugula?” then asked-Sen. Barack Obama, at a rally in Iowa in 2007. Whole foods were non-wholesome in Iowa at the time, and its gaffe and inevitable backlash have all come to be known as the “Rocket Gate”.
Obama’s perceived elitism, according to agribusiness observers, sealed the fate of the spicy greens for at least two election cycles. At the time, kale had sales on a par with arugula, but continued to dominate the dark leafy greens category – while arugula has since weakened.
I also had a rocky start with a rocket, also known as Roquette, as arugula is variously called. Maybe it was too many salad bowls that made the rocket too heavy. But the seedy plant from the mustard family found a home in my heart and stomach, as a flavor regulator, not in the overall taste. It’s the difference between a touch of mustard and a bowl of mustard.
As a leaf spice, our sharp green has a lot to offer. It stays stiff and crispy long after harvesting, but remains tender. Arugula has been a staple food across Europe for centuries, with deep roots in ancient Rome, where it became known as an aphrodisiac. Virgil wrote that its fiery flare revived the weary goddess Aphrodite, and the rest was history.
With a new year, a new government, and a nation divided, I decided to give arugula another chance. And everywhere I turned I saw my naughty new boyfriend.
At my local deli, I noticed a bunch of arugula in a sandwich of salmon, onion, capers, and cream cheese. At Sunday brunch in Madison, Wisconsin this month as I was driving across the country, the arugula was hiding under a decadent plate of eggs benedict.
The Italians have always been there, of course. Nowadays they add fresh handfuls to the pizza and chop them on pasta. I don’t know if the Brazilians are into it, but I put a bunch of arugula on a bowl of feijoada – black bean stew – and the sharp bite was perfect. It’s almost always tossed in a simple vinaigrette like lemon juice with olive oil.
One of my favorite ways to use arugula is on the last dash in a winter pan salad. It’s a continuum of raw and cooked roots, tubers, bulbs, and leaves. I like to toss it with scrambled eggs which gives it a breakfast feel that is made exciting with the wild taste of arugula, like a dash of green hot sauce but with more fiber.
You can skip the eggs to make them more salad-like. Or double up on breakfast and add bacon, in the spirit of this trendy arugula salad with warm bacon vinaigrette. Assuming it’s fat enough, instead of some or all of the oil, use it by boiling a slice and breaking it into pieces, leaving the fat in the pan.
Winter pan salad
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or oil of your choice, including bacon fat)
• 1 large potato – about half a pound – cut into ⅛-inch coins or as thin as possible
• 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
• 1 medium carrot, grated
• ½ cup chopped onion
• ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
• 2 cups of rocket mix (recipe below)
• 2 eggs, scrambled eggs or fried
• Optional: paprika flakes
Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Carefully place the potato coins in the oil, making sure that each coin is in full contact with the pan. Arrange the thicker pieces in the center of the pan. Deglaze with water or broth if it starts to burn.
After about five minutes, grate the carrots, add the garlic and stir. Cook until the potatoes are tender and browned on at least one side. Turn off the heat, add the onions and parsley and let cool for five minutes.
To serve, mix the potato mixture with the rocket mixture and eggs and pile into a large pile. Dust with paprika flakes for a flavorful side dish.
• 2 cups of fresh rocket
• 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• Good shakes with salt and pepper
Mix and blend ingredients.