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Apr 27, 2007 09:45 AM

Arugula/bitter greens for wimps?

I saw the post a couple weeks ago about what to do with CSA arugula. Lots of great-sounding salad recipes there. But, while I'm a very adventurous eater, I have to admit I've never been crazy about the bitter/peppery flavors of the lovely-looking arugula and mustard greens that I've received throughout many CSA seasons and am getting regularly now. Does anyone have any tips or recipes for easing my family and myself into a taste for these greens? Mellowing the flavors until we get used to them, i.e. arugula with training wheels? Thanks!

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  1. We'll often mix spinach and arugula because we like both, but as I think about it, it does tame the bite of the arugula quite a bit. In fact, I think some of those bagged salads may mix them as well. But that would be my suggestion, start adding some of the arugula to some spinach (presuming you already eat spinach) and see how it goes.

    1. Arugula is good and toned down when put in soups, e.g., vegetable, fish, miso. Put the arugula in right at the last moment. You can also toss in at the last moment in Asian noodle dishes.

      1. Sautee some arugula in olive oil and garlic and sprinkle with a little lemon juice and salt.

        1. make a pesto with arugula. Nuts, cheese and olive oil will tone it down and make a beautiful bright green pesto that is lively in flavor and not bitter.

          7 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            I like to toss some in pasta with garlic and olive oil, and maybe a bit of stock, at the last minute -- it wilts the arugula, takes the bite out, and is DELICIOUS.

            1. re: ctscorp

              I do the same, but with rendered pancetta and no stock, and plenty of pecorino cheese as well as a good bit of pasta water. Sometimes I add lemon zest which is a nice complement to the arugula.

              1. re: ctscorp

                I just tried this suggestion since I had left over rotelli pasta in the fridge - yummy! The quick saute with olive oil plus a handful of parmesan really tamed the sharp flavors. Thanks! I'm on my way to aruguladom now. Yesterday's CSA box included another bag of it, so I'm looking forward to trying the next one of the Chows' excellent suggestions.

              2. re: scubadoo97

                Scubadoo97 beat me to it... if you're hot about pesto, this is a great use for arugula. You might also search the web for recipes under it other common name, "rocket."

                We often have it as a green salad, mixed with shrimp (steamed or grilled), parm reg shavings, and cubes of fresh buffalo mozzarella, tossed in a simple vinagrette. The mix of more rich and neutral (shrimp, mozza) with the more accented (parm reg, dressing, arugula) seems to balance each other out.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Seconding scubadoo97 on the pesto. If you're really sensitive to the pepperyness mix it with a couple of handfuls of baby spinach in the food processor. Tyler Florence has a good recipe here:

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    add golden raisins to that pesto and its even better...

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Yes, an argula pesto! I suggest replacing toasted pine nuts with walnuts, and replacing parmesan with a small amount of chevre. Add a few squirts of lemon and a few shavings of lemon peel and you're good to go.

                    2. i recently made pasta sauce by 1st sauteeing o.oil, garlic, chopped fresh tomatoes (& S&P) until tomatoes began to break down, then added a few handfuls of chopped arugula and some pasta water & cooked until greens were just wilted. tossed with short pasta & some parmesan & it was very nice (the greens are less peppery when cooked). you could mellow the taste even more by adding some cream or diced mozzarella or even a dollop of good whole milk yogurt (like La Fage) right at the end.