Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2010

Arugula, the Gourmet's Fancy, Grows Easily in California Backyards

i've always been crazy about arugula.  The peppery tingle it gives your tongue is as far from iceberg lettuce as it gets.  Discovering it in chi-chi restaurants, I always envisioned it as a hot house plant.

On a recent trip to Italy, it was everywhere.

Rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola -- it's all arugula. Scientifically, it's called Eruca Sativa.  Not surprisingly, it's a member of the mustard family. It natively ranges the boundaries of the Mediterranean from Portugal and Morrocco to Lebanon and Turkey.

The nutritional data for arugula is astounding: 2.5 calories for a half-cup serving!! with high doses of vitamins A and C, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and potassium to boot.

The Romans grew arugula both for its leaves and its seeds.  They used the seed to flavor oil and empower aphrodisiacs.  It was a convention of Roman meals to offer a salad of greens such as arugula, romaine, chicory, mallow or lavender seasoned with a cheese sauce.