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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State















Eight Great Recipes Featuring Arugula

Arugula is a pungent, peppery salad green that has been widely used in Italy since ancient Roman times. It was virtually unknown in the United States until the 1970s when it, along with other exotic mesclun greens from the Mediterranean region, such as radicchio and mache, caught the wave of interest in the new style of seasonal cooking known as California cuisine -- and rode that wave into the periphery of the mainstream American diet. Arugula is now widely available in farmers markets, even though it is still seldom seen in the average American supermarket.

To the uninitiated, arugula can take some getting used to, though it is an easily acquired taste if properly presented.  In relatively small quantities, shreds of arugula can add a touch of spice to any salad without overwhelming it. It is also excellent as the dominant or even sole green in a salad with fruit or a fruity dressing to offset its pungency. To those who find it a bit too peppery for their taste, a portion of the arugula in any of these recipes can be replaced with spinach.

* Apple Vinaigrette
* Arugula and Pear Salad
* Arugula, Orange and Red Onion Salad
* Arugula, Orange and Fennel Salad
* Grilled Fig and Arugula Salad
* Arugula and Red Pepper Pesto
* Arugula and Olive Pesto
* Linguine with Arugula, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese

This is an excellent dressing for an arugula and/or spinach salad.  For more layers of flavor complexity, add walnuts and/or feta cheese and/or crumbled bacon.

Apple Vinaigrette

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons grated sweet or purple onion
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely chopped apple

1. Whisk together sugar, vinegar, onion, mustard, salt, oil, and apple, or pulse a few times in blender.

2. Refrigerate salad greens and dressing separately until serving time.

Arugula and Pear Salad

2 tablespoons minced shallot
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 firm red Bartlett pears
5 cups butterhead lettuce (Bibb or Boston)
washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
4 cups arugula, trimmed, washed and dried

1. To prepare dressing, whisk shallots, broth, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

2. To prepare salad, toast walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

3. Just before serving, cut pears into 16 slices each. Place in a large bowl. Spoon on 1 tablespoon of the dressing and toss to coat. Add lettuce, arugula and the remaining dressing; toss well. Divide among 8 plates. Top with walnuts.

Arugula, Orange and Red Onion Salad

2 bunches arugula, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 large navel oranges, peel and white pith removed, cut into segments
8 very thin slices red onion, separated into rings
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Drizzle the arugula with half of the olive oil and the lemon juice; toss to coat and divide among 4 salad plates.

2. Arrange the orange segments and onions on top, dividing evenly. Drizzle with remaining oil and season with black pepper.

Arugula, Orange and Fennel Salad

1 large fennel bulb
1 red onion, shaved paper thin
2 cup mandarin orange segments
6 bunches fresh arugula
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon turbinado or other brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim off the top off the fennel bulb. Slice the fennel and onion paper thin. 

3. To prepare the vinaigrette, combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk. 

4. Toss the arugula, fennel and onion with vinaigrette, divide among serving plates and top with mandarin orange slices, walnuts and, if desire, pomegranate seeds.

Grilled Fig and Arugula Salad

8 large black mission figs or 12 smaller green figs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for brushing figs
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 lb. arugula
1/2 lb. ricotta salata, grated
1/4 lb. proscuitto, julienned

1. Rinse and trim stem end of figs and split lengthwise.

2. Whisk olive oil into 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss arugula with vinaigrette.

3. Lightly brush figs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil figs one minute on each side. Remove figs from heat and toss with remaining 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar.

4. Place figs on a bed of greens then sprinkle with cheese and Proscuitto and serve.

Arugula and Red Pepper Pesto

1/2 lb. arugula
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 roasted red peppers
1 cup toasted piņon nuts
1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup olive oil

1. Blend everything together in a food processor, stopping to scrape sides and processing again. We like the pesto rich, salty and oily. A few cloves of sweet roasted garlic are a nice addition.

2. Older arugula can be bitter; this pesto can be cut with fresh spinach for milder flavor.

3. Spread on pizza crust, and top with cheese & veggies; toss with hot pasta (ziti is a particularly good vehicle); add to sour cream for a dip. You can freeze the pesto in greased ice cube trays for easy-access portions.

Arugula and Olive Pesto

3 cups arugula
1/2 cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives, or other oil-cured black olive
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

1. Place all ingredients except cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

2. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and stir in the cheese. Taste for seasonings adding salt or pepper as desired.

Makes enough sauce for one pound of pasta.

Linguine with Arugula, Pine Nuts
and Parmesan Cheese

1 pound linguine
1/2 cup olive oil
4 ounces arugula, trimmed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add arugula and stir until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add arugula and toss well. Add 1 cup Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste; toss well.

4. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve immediately, adding additional Parmesan, if desired.

Copyright 2006 Seasonal Chef