Tuesday, July 29, 2008

arugula - love it!

I might have mentioned in another post that I love arugula. Arugula is a spicy peppery lettuce that has a distinct taste that either you love or hate. It’s also known around the world as rocket, rucola, and rocquette.

I grow arugula in my summer garden which is planted in February. It’s an easy lettuce to grow, sprouts within days and within a week or two you can pick baby arugula which isn’t as strong tasting as when it gets bigger.

When I travel in Italy one of my favorite things to look forward to when eating is to see if there is rucola on the menu. It’s listed as an Insalata on the menu and typically what you’ll get is a bowl of rucola lettuce and a wedge of lemon. Thanks it, plain and simple. I can honestly say that it tastes so much better in Italy then anywhere else I’ve had it and I know it’s because it’s always served at it’s freshest.

I like to squeeze the lemon over the rucola, add a little olive oil and if available sprinkle on some fresh parmesan or pecorino cheese. Oh, it’s so good.

So why am I writing so much about arugula you ask? Well, with the temperatures so hot here in the sunny southwest arugula usually lasts until early May. Then no more arugula. This is not a typical lettuce that is carried in the stores but one store, Sprouts, carries it on occasion when in season.

Well, arugula is not in season right now so imagine how happy I was when I saw it on the shelf at Sprout’s yesterday. Yahoo. Happy camper here.

If you haven’t tried arugula I encourage you to give it a go. If you don’t like eating it as a salad put it in soup, stew, or pasta dish. You won't be disappointed. Try it instead of spinach, a little change a pace.

Do you have a favorite food that can’t be found often?


Rowena said...

I know that I'll always get a kick out of whenever you mention your growing season. February! I'm still freezing in my socks and jammies during that month. I love rucola (really can't see why anyone wouldn't) together with cherry tomatoes. From garden to table, forget the fancy dressings. Who needs that? A squeeze of lemon like you mentioned and a drizzle of olive oil is just right when you're eating fresh. ;-)

Ice Tea For Me said...

Rowena - it took me a year or two to get used to the growing seasons here in the Southwest but I instantly took to the mild winters.

That's one of the reasons why I moved to Arizona. Love it! Though I do miss having seasons.

Under an Olive Tree said...

I love arugula and parmesean on focaccia. It's my favorite kind of pizza. Thanks for reminding me to have it as a salad too...today! I think I saw it recently at my local fruit and vegetable store.


Diana said...

**I like to squeeze the lemon over the rucola, add a little olive oil and if available sprinkle on some fresh parmesan or pecorino cheese. Oh, it’s so good.**

Me too! You have described one of the best salads of all times. That and a loaf of really crusty bread, what more does one need, really?

Ice Tea For Me said...

Diane/Under an Olive Tree - Arugola on focaccia & pizza. Oh that sounds heavenly. Thanks for the idea.

Diana/Baur B&B - have you served this to your guests?

After I've dressed the rucola if I'm serving a fish dish I'll reserve some for the plating and place the warm fish on the bed of seasoned rucola. It looks good and wilts the salad.