Here are this week's glorious vegetables. From left to right and top to bottom: Italian parsley, arugula, knob onions, Sugar Snap peas, mint, Spicy Mesclun greens, lettuce, broccoli, Swiss Chard.
My friend Babs coined the term "Development Time" as a pseudonym for "acquiring a taste." Development Time is the process of going from hating a food to loving it. The first time I tried arugula, I was not keen on it. The fierce peppery bite nearly knocked my socks off. When I found out that in some countries it's called rocket, I thought this makes sense because it has the power to blast off taste buds. But, I'm not one to ever give up easily, especially regarding matters of food. I was certain that arugula had virtues, even if it's virtues were an acquired taste.
My Arugula Development Time was short. In fact, I hit on a great recipe right away. (Don't just try to use arugula willy-nilly in any old salad. I used this recipe for Giant Black Bean Salad from 101 Cookbooks. In this particular salad, a vinaigrette dressing with lime juice, jalapeno, garlic, and honey is tossed over arugula and black beans (feel free to substitute regular black beans as I did) and then topped with toasted almonds and cheese (I used goat cheese instead of feta). What I found was that the spice of the jalapeno was brightened by the peppery arugula. But even more, the contrast of the sweetness from the honey and the almonds had my taste buds singing. Finally, I reveled in the textural contrast of the crunchy almonds and creamy goat cheese. Now I can eat arugula in any setting.
So for all you arugula virgins out there, make this your gateway arugula recipe. You won't regret it.