I came home a week ago Tuesday to a surprise on my doorstep: a lovely box, overflowing with green vegetables. Since I was the one who had ordered it, it wasn’t a true surprise, but I had forgotten it was to come that day. And it just happened to be my birthday.
Fresh, organic produce grown right here in this little desert country. What a treat! I promptly made a salad and never have I enjoyed lettuce and cucumber more! But some of the other contents of the box have been more challenging for me, namely: rocket.
Rocket, or arugula, is from the same famly as cress, mustard and radish. I find all of these a little hard on my sensitive palate. And the rocket leaves that came in my box were fairly mature, which I believe gives them even more of a kick than the baby arugula I’ve been served in restaurants (think of how mature spinach is more potent than baby spinach).
Needless to say, when thinking about how I was going to enjoy this vibrant bundle, smoothies were definitely out. We once bought mislabeled baby mustard greens and made them into smoothies. That was the only time we were unable to finish our green juice. So, no smoothies. Instead, I simply swapped out the spinach in my usual recipes for rocket. Everything I tried was fine. Edible. Good for me. But I didn’t love it.
Here are three things I now know about rocket, that I didn’t before:
- Less is more. In a salad, for example, it should be a garnish, not a staple.
- When sauteed, the stems are very hard to chew, so it’s best to remove them first.
- The peppery flavour really enhances some dishes – I just need to remember point #1.
I did find one way to eat rocket that I really liked: pesto! But the trick was that for every cup of rocket, I also used a cup of other herbs. I intend to someday make a green spaghetti with this pest recipe, but for now I’ve been enjoying it on oat crackers. Yes, you read that right: enjoying rocket!
I am determined to acquire a broader taste for rocket, but it may take a bit longer than I had hoped. In the meantime, at least I’ve found a way to enjoy the benefits of this good-for-you, grown-right-here green.
Mixed Herb Walnut Pesto*
Instructions: Process walnuts in food processor until chopped fairly small. Add garlic, greens, lemon juice, and olive oil and process until desired texture, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Season with salt to taste. Serve with pasta or as a spread on crackers, or as a dip for veggies. Enjoy!
*All measurements are approximate. I just added stuff to the processor, tasted, and then added more stuff. I think I might have thrown in some apple cider vinegar at one point, too – I can’t remember. I really love taste-as-you-go cooking. (Sorry, Kathy!)