Arugula is such a versatile and interesting green. My favorite type of arugula is actually wild arugula or wild rocket. It’s a little smaller and much spicier. We are growing both domestic and wild varieties but presently the domestic is prolific and so super tasty. It’s a little spicy and tender enough for a salad but sturdy enough to cook. Here are a couple of great and easy recipes to enjoy this fresh arugula.
Arugula Salad with roasted root vegetables and a dill and mustard vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
-olive oil, long dash
-wild spring garlic (or cloves if spring garlic is unavailable), one or two spring garlic
-fresh dill, a small handful
-fresh fennel fronds, half the dill
-white wine vinegar
-salt and pepper
For the salad:
4 oz arugula
One russet potato peeled
One bulb of fennel
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Prep your veggies for the oven. Peel and cut the potato into quarters, then slice the quarters, the shape is like a slice of pie. Quarter the fennel bulb and cut in the same manner, it will peel apart like an onion. Add to cookie sheet and lightly coat with olive oil. Add to the oven and mindfully ignore while prepping everything else.
For the vinaigrette, add all of the ingredients together and whisk with a small whisk or fork until well combined. Make adjustments with ingredients to your taste.
Add almost all of the arugula to a large bowl, and toss with about ⅔ of the dressing. Toss well and after this, add a little more arugula that isn’t so well combined.
Check your vegetables in the oven and turn them as needed. They should be fully cooked and crispy without being burnt. This takes some patience and some frequent but not too frequent tossing. When they are done to your liking, probably at least 20 min, top them on the salad and toss it all to combine.
Optional Protein Idea: Grilled venison marinated salad. I have lots of family members who hunt deer but often can’t finish the meat from one season before the start of the next. This means we get lots of free venison and a source of very healthy lean protein to stock our freezers. If you have a freezer full of venison, then you are always looking for new ways to use it. If you don’t have venison this would work well with any red meat. If you don’t eat meat, just skip this part. The salad is filling enough as it is.
-venison butterfly loins (or any thin cut of red meat)
-the remainder of your salad dressing
-another Tbsp of Fennel Fronds
-one rib of fennel
-juice from half a lemon
Grill the meat at a high heat so that it sears the outside but the inside is still very red. This will only take a couple minutes on each side. After cooking, bring inside and cover with foil for a few minutes.
Mix the remainder of your salad dressing with some chopped fennel fronds, a thinly sliced fennel rib, and the juice of half a lemon. The acid from this will continue to cook the meat.
Very thinly, slice your meat and add to a serving dish. Top with the sauce and toss well to combine.
Add to your salad
Wine Pairing Suggestion: We had a light bodied old world red, Nebbiolo, with this meal and it was perfect. Any light bodied red wine like a Pinot Noir would work well with this meal. Pictured here is the 2019 vintage of the Etnico Pinot Noir made with grapes that were grown on a Demeter Certified biodynamic farm in Chile. This meal could also stand up to a red blend.
Creamy Arugula Pasta Pesto with Grilled Asparagus
-pasta, shape of your choice
-large handful of arugula
-olive oil, long dash
-2 wild spring garlic (or cloves), chopped
-juice from half lemon
-parmesan cheese, finely grated (big pile)
Start pasta water. Always use your biggest pot filled with water so the pasta has lots of space while cooking. Turn heat on highest setting and wait until it is fully boiling before adding a very heavy pinch of sea salt. Then wait until it is fully boiling again to add the pasta.
2. For the pesto, chop your arugula very finely and add to a bowl, then add a very long dash of olive oil. It should be enough to fully cover the arugula when it’s packed down, add the chopped walnuts, and the chopped garlic, juice from the lemon, and your big pile of finely grated parmesan cheese. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste. After this taste and season with extra cheese or lemon, etc to your liking.
3. When the salted pasta water is at a full boil, add the pasta to it. Cook according to the
package instructions and on the al dente side.
4. In a large bowl, add a little olive oil, and the goat cheese.
5. Grill asparagus spears at a high heat quickly for a quick sear but so that they are still
tender with a bite.
6. When the pasta is finished, use a slotted spoon to add it to the large bowl with the
olive oil and goat cheese. This will soften the goat cheese and allow it to become a
sort of creamy sauce.
7. Add pesto and about a half cup of pasta water to the bowl
with the pasta and goat cheese. Toss all together.
8. Finally, slice the asparagus into one inch pieces and
incorporate into the pasta. Enjoy!
Wine Pairing Suggestion:
The subtle spice and bitterness of the arugula with the sweet of the asparagus and rich goat cheese tang are perfectly with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Both the food and wine were enhanced with each bite and sip. We enjoyed the 2020 Gallivant Sauvignon Blanc out of California. It has bright notes of lemon and pineapple that lend themselves well to this spring pasta.