..well quite frankly, this gal’s arugula. Enter my backyard this time of year and perennials are pushing thru the ground, large pots are waiting to be potted (or, are attempting lettuces, chard and kale before summer hits full blaze, oh wait, it did), and then there is what looks like the ‘land o weeds’. Closer look and there is quite possibly the kickiest naturalized arugula in the city. This is all a result of planting some ‘wild’ arugula (from plants found at the farmers market of course ;) years ago and just letting them go to seed year after year. So if you are in that part of my yard, resist your urge to weed,’k?
Wow, just realized I opened myself up to all of you coming over and begging arugula off me. A little push back here, I am sending you off to the farmer’s markets. Asparagus and strawberries might get all the attention this time of year, but this is prime time for arugula folks. To think, prior to the early 90’s most folks had no idea what this peppery, mustardy, cress-like, perfect-addition-to-almost-everything (in my book as least). And now everyone knows or has tried it.
Now your ‘grocery store’ variety is pretty darn tame (putting it ever so nicely), and easy to dive into alone (think simple salad of arugula, shaved parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and squeeze of lemon), but real farm fresh arugula let me warn you: proceed with discretion. Not to scare you off, but it can pack quite a punch. Kind of like Altoids. Yes, you know what I am talking about. Add these peppery-sweet (hum, is that possible?), vitamin-rich greens to a favorite salad or pasta, top off a pizza, stuff into sandwiches, mix into quiche or ,swap for basil, to accompany prosciutto and melon. Seriously, wow good.
If you are like me and have an abundance of arugula (gee, I would never buy more than I need at the farmers market, must be someone else), a great use, that will keep on giving for awhile, is pesto. Think basil pesto, but with a lot more bite. So, so easy to mix up a batch, then store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or store in the freezer and you will have some for months.
3 cups packed arugula
1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts), toasted*
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large garlic clove, chopped
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Pulse everything, except the olive oil, together in a food processor, until the arugula is chopped fine. With motor running, stream in the olive oil blending mixture until smooth.
Store in fridge covering the surface with plastic wrap (trick for keeping surface from discoloring), should keep for one-two weeks.
* nut allergies, or plain just don’t like them? Eliminate them from the recipe.
See you at the markets!