I’m excited to share my first piece for The Green Room, one that’s all about the arugula. I grow my own arugula all summer, and even now a self-seeded fall crop is doing its best to hang on in my cold frame. But not everyone has the time or space to grow their own greens. Fortunately, fresh arugula has been easier to buy year-round than when I first discovered this spicy green—as I explain in my story.
That’s partly thanks to companies like Fifth Season Fresh, which publishes The Green Room and is working toward a more sustainable global food system. Although its products are currently only sold in a trio of states, recipes that use them and loads of other fresh produce are at your fingertips for your next meal.
All About the Arugula
I discovered arugula in the late ‘90s in London as an affordable, easy-to-find green sold as “rocket.” More than 20 years later, I’m still hooked on its spicy fresh flavor. But as I share at The Green Room, it took almost that long for it to find popularity in American grocery stores, and even today the greens and seeds are still often classified as an herb.
Whatever you call it, arugula grows easily and quickly, and it readily self-seeds in my garden. You can also collect the browning seed pods, let them dry completely, and save the tiny black seeds for next season’s planting. It’s quick to flower in summer’s heat; the delicate white flowers are edible, but the green leaves become even spicier during the hottest weeks. In cold climates, you’ll need to grow from seed indoors or buy plastic clamshells of the greens through the winter months.
Arugula can take a little heat, making it versatile for everything from salads to pasta. Instead of fully cooking the green, I let it wilt onto hot dishes so that it holds on to its color and texture.
Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe on the Fifth Season website, but here are the basics:
You need just 4 fresh ingredients plus some pasta and cheese.
1. Toss together the tomatoes, garlic, lemon, and arugula.
2. Cook the pasta.
3. Mix everything together and cover.
4. Let the arugula wilt, and enjoy.
Learn more about how I discovered arugula and get the complete recipe here.
Twice as Tasty
Pasta isn’t the only way I enjoy arugula. I still make a version of the salad that became my lunchtime staple in London. I use it as bed for grilled fish, curried sweet potato, or homemade ravioli. It can replace basil as a pesto base. And I’ve been known to mound handfuls of it on sourdough pizza that features pears pickled with lemon, huckleberries, and fromage blanc. No matter how you serve it, it’s all about the arugula.
Get more fun recipes in my cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling. Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy directly from me. I share more tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic, a digital collection in an easy-to-read PDF format. It’s available exclusively through Twice as Tasty.