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Rocket Man

 

Arugula, also known as rocket, rucola, and roquette, is a spicy, bitter, and peppery salad green with diverse

 

Arugula, also known as rocket, rucola, and roquette, is a spicy, bitter, and peppery salad green with diverse culinary uses. Arugula originated in the Mediterranean and has been a long time favorite in Italian cooking.

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The ancient Romans ate it for good luck. It was also an ingredient in various aphrodisiac potions throughout the ages.

Arugula is available year round with a peak season between June and December. Baby arugula leaves, from immature plants, are oval in shape while mature arugula leaves display pronounced lobes on each side. Mature arugula is darker green and spicier than it's younger counterpart.

Choose leaves that are bright green with no sign of wilting. Arugula is highly perishable and should be used within two days of purchase. Store it in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your fridge. Arugula is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C.

Arugula is a gritty green and must be washed thoroughly. Some say to wash it just before use while others recommend washing it even if you plan to store it. I favor washing it just before use. Unless you dry it well, washed arugula can wilt somewhat from the left over water.

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Arugula is most commonly employed in salads as in the infamous tricolor salad. However, it can be used in sauces, soups, pasta dishes, and as a sautéed accompaniment.

Generally, young arugula is used for salads and the spicier older arugula for cooking. Below are two recipes featuring both types of arugula. If you can't find one or the other you can definitely substitute.

PASTA WITH ARUGULA AND CLAM JUICE

SAUTEED SHRIMP OVER ARUGULA WITH AVOCADO VINAIGRETTE

A few points here:

Avocado oil can be found in gourmet food stores such as Whole Foods or on the Internet. It is a monosaturated fat, (like olive oil), and rich in vitamins A, D, E, lecithin and potassium.

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Make an effort to find it. It makes a very tasty dressing. If not, substitute olive oil. To drizzle in the oil with one hand and whisk with the other, wrap a wet dishtowel around the bowl.

It will hold it in place while both your hands are busy. Always heat your skillet first before adding the oil. Shrimp are identified by the number of them in a pound.

Thus, 15/lb shrimp means there are 15 to a pound. The lower the number the larger the shrimp but you can use any size for this recipe.

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