Also called rocket, arugula is a peppery, nutty-tasting member of the mustard family, whose blossoms and leaves have long been a popular ingredient in the cuisines of Italy, Morocco, Portugal, and Turkey. Widely available year-round, this versatile leafy green can be served raw, but is just as often used in cooked dishes. We love it ground into pesto, tossed with lemon and shaved parmesan as a pizza topping, or simply sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
HOW TO BUY
Dark leaves indicate freshness and flavor; look for leaves that are uniformly green and avoid anything yellow, brown-spotted, wilting, or excessively moist-looking. Older (and larger) arugula is generally spicier than younger, smaller leaves, as is the wild variety.
HOW TO STORE
Packaged arugula can be stored in its original container. If you buy arugula with the roots still attached, wrap the stems in a moist paper towel and store in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Arugula shouldn't be washed until immediately before use.
HOW TO PREPARE
Unwashed arugula tends to hold a lot of grit; to remove it, agitate the leaves in a bowl of cold water, remove the leaves, and repeat with fresh water if needed. Spin until the arugula is thoroughly dried, or shake to remove excess water and pat dry with clean kitchen towels.