Rocket has a wonderful peppery flavor and is
excellent in a mixed green salad. It has small, bright green
dandelion-shaped leaves. The Greeks and Romans commonly ate rocket (arugula)
in mixed salads, apparently to help counterbalance the dampening effect
lettuce had on the libido - rocket's aphrodisiac properties in antiquity
are well catalogued. It used to be sown around the statues of Priapus,
the mythological Greek god of fertility and protector of gardens and
herbs and son of Aphrodite and Dionysus.
Buying and Storing - Rocket is to be found
either among the salads or fresh herbs in supermarkets. Buy fresh green
leaves and use soon after purchasing. If necessary, the leaves can be
kept immersed in cold water.
Preparing and Serving - Discard any
discolored leaves. Add rocket to plain green salads, or grind with
garlic, pine nuts and olive oil for a dressing for pasta. Since it has
such a striking flavor, a little rocket goes a long way, making it an
excellent leaf for garnishing. It tastes superb contrasted with grilled
goat's cheese, or one or two leaves can be added to sandwiches, or
loosely packed into pitta bread pockets along with tomatoes, avocado,
peanuts and bean sprouts.