Arugula (otherwise known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola) is a dark green salad leaf with a slightly bitter, mustardy, peppery flavor. Arugula has been around for quite a while. It was even mentioned in the Old Testament Book of Kings (II Kings 4:39, to be exact, in case you want to check). Its known that arugula’s history is a long one and that it was harvested as early as the 6th century B.C.
Arugula is a Mediterranean plant—the Romans claimed it was an aphrodisiac—that also grows wild in Asia and has become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the past decade.
Arugula is a good choice of salad green to accompany a rich dish, because its sharp bite will cleanse the palate. (Arugula is a traditional component of mesclun greens, a common assortment of lettuces and other greens.) It can also be added to pasta, rice or vegetable dishes at the last minute or piled on a hot pizza, as it wilts quickly.