I had my first salad of arugula today from seeds that I planted in late August. There have been a few thinnings before today, but right now the leaves are baby size, about 3 inches at the longest. They have that classic arugula bite, but not too sharp and quite tender as well.
I used to think arugula was a Yiddish word because of its sound-alike quality to bubbela, mamala, and totala, but it’s an Italian name that also answers to rocket and roquette.
Plant arugula for a fall or winter crop when the weather just begins to cool and daytime temperature highs tend to be lower than the mid 80’s. Here, near Ithaca NY, I seeded the last week of August. The plants can withstand frosts and with some protection, like a row cover or by planting in a cold frame, arugula can be harvested much or all of the winter, depending on the severity of your climate.
Besides its use as a salad green, add arugula to sandwiches, dips, pestos, and mashed potatoes. Bigger leaves that are more pungent than the baby greens are mellowed by very quick cooking or blanching.
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes (dry packed, not in oil)
- 4 cups arugula
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted in a 350F oven for 3 to 4 minutes
- ½ cup cubed fresh or smoked mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a heatproof bowl, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water to cover for 15 minutes.
- Place the arugula, nuts, and mozzarella in a bowl.
- In a cup, mix together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper.
- Drain and chop the sun-dried tomatoes and add to the salad.
- Drizzle with the dressing and toss.