Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pick of the Week: Arugula

When I made the switch to organics decades ago, my green salad choices were dismal. I would shop in specialty stores and hope that there was something else besides Romaine to take home. Thankfully that scenario is long gone.

But I do have my favorite salad mix, a combo of baby spinach and baby arugula. I love the peppery, pungent taste of the arugula contrasting with the mild yet distinctive flavor of spinach. And where once a diced apple was added to my noontime mix, I find grapefruit's sharp bite is a wonderful addition. And like all greens, it is a dieter's friend: A cup has about 10 calories. Volume eating!

Selecting: The arugula I buy is marked "baby," and comes wrapped in a plastic bag inside a plastic case, so I really have no choice. But good arugula has fresh, small green leaves,with no signs of yellow or wilting. The larger the leaf, the more pungent the taste. Old arugula can be really bitter.

Storing: Arugula should be fine if kept in a plastic bag for about five days. After that, it will begin to wilt. But like any green, it's best to eat it as soon as you can.

The following recipe is from "Lettuce in Your Kitchen" by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, and it really is quite special. Serve it with pride. They also suggest drizzling the dressing on grilled tuna or swordfish.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. minced garlic
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 grapefruit, peeled, separated into sections, and sections halved
1 orange, peeled, separated into sections, and sections halved
1 red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
1 bunch arugula, trimmed, washed and dried
1/4 cup loosely packed whole fresh basil leaves
2 Tblsp. toasted sesame seeds, optional
Pomegranate seeds for garnish, optional
  • In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk together well.
  • In a large bowl, combine the grapefruit, orange, onion, arugula and basil leaves. Stir the dressing well and add just enough to moisten the ingredients (there will be some dressing left over), and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pomegranate seeded if you have them, and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1 comment:

  1. Delicious! My dressing of the moment is just that - lemon juice, olive oil salt and pepper. I don't even bother with the parsley and garlic, though it's wonderful.