Rocket (Arugula)

Rocket (Arugula)

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.

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