Tasty Garden Rocket: Arugula!

Ah, arugula! This bold green livens up any dish it’s in. Nicknamed “Garden Rocket,” it grows fast, almost like a weed in our northwest climate.

Well, weed or not, this tasty leaf is full of great health benefits. Just 4 ounces of this green is just 25 calories – wow! It’s also full of vital antioxidants and vitamins – 3 cups gives you 100% of your daily vitamin K needs!

Arugla’s taste is nutty and peppery. Try it tucked into sandwiches, or tossed in a little olive oil and scattered over a sexy cheese pizza. This tasty green also complements meat and seafood beautifully. It makes a perfect bed for a piece of grilled fish or steak.

Of course, it’s great in salads like in my Baby Arugula, Orange & Fennel Salad with Grilled Shrimp & White Balsamic Vinaigrette. It’s also a delicious add-in to a homemade pesto recipe for a robust, peppery edge!

So get your arugula on and dig into this peppery green that’s so good for you! – Kathy

Baby Arugula Salad
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books.

Baby Arugula, Orange & Fennel Salad with Grilled Shrimp and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Shrimp
1 Tbsp undiluted orange juice concentrate
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp minced orange zest
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp minced fennel fronds
1 Tbsp fennel seed, toasted and crushed
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 lbs large raw shrimp (32 to 40)

Salad
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed
6 oranges or tangerines
6 cups baby arugula
2 heads baby frisée, torn, rinsed and spun dry
White Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

To marinate the shrimp, whisk all the ingredients, except the shrimp, in a large bowl. Peel, devein, and remove tails of the shrimp then add them to the marinade and toss to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

To prepare the salad, finely shave the fennel bulbs with a sharp knife or a mandoline and crisp in ice water for 10 minutes. Spin dry before using. Cut the peel off the oranges, trim away all the white pith, then cut the fruit into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Flick out any seeds. (If prepared ahead, refrigerate the fennel and orange slices separately, for up to 2 hours.)

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. Grill the shrimp until just pink and done, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, toss the arugula, frisée, fennel, and oranges with enough of the vinaigrette to coat nicely—taste for flavor, adding more dressing if needed.

Serve the salad on a large platter or divide among individual plates, arrange the shrimp on top, and drizzle with a little extra dressing, if desired.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette
The vinaigrette keeps, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup undiluted orange juice concentrate
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or 1 Tbsp harissa paste
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fennel seed, toasted and ground
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallots, mustard, and juice concentrate. Whisk in the pepper flakes, salt, pepper to taste, and fennel seed. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Stir in the fennel fronds. If made ahead, refrigerate until shortly before needed, then rewhisk before using.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books.

Posted by Kathy Casey on April 3rd, 2014  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, seafood, sides

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