Arugula, also known as rocket, garden rocket, rocket salad, rugola, rucola and roquette, is a type of leaf vegetable, which looks like a longer leaved and open lettuce. Rocket is a herbaceaus annual or perennial; a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae = Cruciferae). It is rich in vitamin C and iron.
Arugula has been grown as a vegetable in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, and was considered an aphrodisiac. Before the 1990s it was usually collected in the wild and was not cultivated on a large scale and not scientifically researched until the 1990s. Today, it is cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, Italy, but is available throughout the world.
Arugula is generally used in salads but also cooked as a vegetable with pastas or meats and in coastal Slovenia (especially Koper), it is added in the squeaky cheese burek. In Italy, it is often used in pizzas, added just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it can wilt in the heat. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in pesto, either in addition to basil or as a (non-traditional) substitute. A dish in Veneto consists of shredded, cured horsemeat on a bed of arugula dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
- ↑ The term arugula (variations of Italian dialects around arigola) is the term often used by the Italian diaspora in Australia and North America; both words arugula and rocket ultimately come from the Latin word stem roc and eruca which means harsh, in reference to its bitter flavour especially when collected from the wild.