Arugula 10 Ways

Arugula is a dark green, peppery leaf that works equally well in salads or as a cooked green. It is available year-round, but is best when the weather is mild. Arugula is easily cleaned in a large bowl/basin of cool water. Gently swish leaves in the water, letting any dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl. Lift clean leaves out of the water and transfer to a salad spinner or several layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Dry in the spinner or by rolling in the towels. Transfer leaves to a layer or two of paper towels (or clean, dry ones if you dried the leaves with towels), gently roll them up, and store in a loosely closed plastic bag in the fridge. Smaller arugula leaves tend to be milder, while larger leaves tend to have a more aggressive, peppery kick. Arugula pairs well with sweet mild lettuces like Boston (a.k.a. butter lettuce) and Bibb lettuces. Dressings made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar highlight the assertive flavors of arugula, as do lemon juice-based dressings. Arugula does well lightly cooked. Use it as you would spinach or added to soups (cooking quickly). Also, you can add small handful on top of a plate of pasta or let it wilt gently into a bowl of soup. This will add flavor, texture, and color to a dish. Here are 10 Arugula ideas highlighted by Parade Magazine.

THE RAW:
Italian: Arugula, sliced radicchio, parmesan cheese shavings, quartered artichoke hearts and pitted black olives.
Summer: Arugula, sliced beefsteak tomatoes, fresh corn kernels and fresh basil
Steakhouse: Arugula, sliced steak, cucumber, chopped scallions or spring onions and crisp bacon
Sweet and Salty: Arugula, diced fresh apricot, crumbled feta cheese and toasted almonds
California: Arugula, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, toasted pecans and dried cranberries

THE COOKED:
Pesto: Puree 2 garlic cloves, 2 cups packed arugula, ½ cup olive oil and ¼ cup toasted pine nuts or toasted walnuts. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on grilled fish or chicken.
Pilaf: Sauté 1 diced onion in 2 tbsp canola oil in a pot. Add 1 ½ cups rice, 2 ½ cups water and salt to taste. Bring to simmer. Stir in ¼ cup golden raisins and ¼ cup slivered almonds. When rice is tender stir in 2 cups packed arugula.
Sandwich: Layer slices of ripe peach, thin slices of gruyere cheese and handful of arugula between 2 slices of whole wheat bread. Bake or press until cheese melts.
Pasta: Combine ¾ lb cooked whole wheat spaghetti, 2 cups packed arugula, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, ¼ cup chopped parsley, 3 tbsp pine nuts, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Warm and serve.
Pizza: Top whole wheat pizza crust with basil pesto, handful of arugula, sautéed broccoli and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425 degrees until cheese melts and crust is finished.

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