Tuesday, May 19, 2009

101 uses for arugula

Well, not really. I can think of 3 or 4, but I thought I'd post them since it is that time of year when so many people buy huge bags of arugula because it's all lovely and fresh and green and that first bite tastes so good.

Then they bring the bags home, find that their kids/husbands/wives won't eat the stuff, and it sits in the fridge, maybe decreasing by 10 leaves or so every time a salad is made, and eventually turns yellow and starts to smell iffy.

However, here's something you might not know: you don't HAVE to eat it raw. In fact, studies* have shown that children prefer most greens - including arugula - cooked. With lots of butter. Interestingly, many of the nutrients - especially vitamins - in greens are better absorbed in the presence of fats, so the butter is a good idea nutritionally, not just taste-wise.

So idea #1: quickly blanch the arugula, and toss with butter and balsamic vinegar. Delicious. (This works well for any greens, actually.)

Idea #2: pretend it's spinach.Arugula can also work very well as a spinach substitute. Any recipe that calls for cooked spinach will also work with cooked arugula. I actually prefer it to spinach, because it lacks that weird tooth-feel that spinach has.

Idea #3: add to spaghetti sauce. Just wash and toss in about 5 minutes before serving. As long as it's wilted, it's good to go.Frequently, I find that pasta sauces often go further if you add some greenery. Arugula is a good choice because it actually adds a bit of flavour, too, and it mitigates the cop-out feel of spaghetti night, since you're getting greenery into the kids and reducing the vegetable population in the fridge.

Idea #4: Risotto. Arugula lightens up a risotto nicely, making it feel more spring-like and fluffy. Just make a regular risotto with white wine and chicken stock, cook it a little dryer than normal, and add loads of coarsely chopped arugula and a few handfuls of grated asiago at the end. Serve when the arugula is fully wilted. Yummy.

*Ok, it was one study, and it was conducted at my house.


Blogger Bekki said...

I thought I was the only one who hated spinach because of it's funky fuzzy tooth feel! My husband just looks at me like I'm crazy when I complain about it... it is so good to find another crazy person. :-)

10:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home