Arugula, Ruccola, Roquette or Rocket?

I discovered rocket late in life – a few years ago when I was having lunch with a friend I noticed she was eating this green stuff that I had always thought was ‘garnish’.  She told me it was Arugula.  As you might have guessed she’s American.  I’ve also heard it called Ruccola in some old recipe books  – it’s funny how you never notice something and then it’s just all over the place.  Well that’s the case with Rocket leaves for me.   I was just never exposed to this leaf growing up in and Indian household but recently I can’t get enough of it!

It is a bit expensive though isn’t it considering it’s essentially just a ‘leaf’.  55g is about £1.50.  So I’m growing it this year again some to save a little cash as it’s a staple in my weekly shop.  I’m not an expert but if you’re keen to have a go, herbs and salad leaves like rocket should be at the top of your list as they give an excellent return on investment and can be used in so many dishes.

Have a read of my post at Great British Chefs.  I used some seeds in a simple old egg box.

Copyright Urvashi Roe_GB chefs rocket-4

Egg boxes are cheap and cheerful seedlings

If you want something a bit more sophisticated, Seed Pantry do lovely Window Salads Starter Pack or for something a bit quirky, I rather like this cupcake planter from (am not sponsored to say that by the way!).

Cute cupcake planter

It’s a really old leaf too as there are records as far back as 40-90AD of Dioscorides, the Greek physician and pharmacologist, describing it as ‘a digestive and good for ye belly’.   And from a health perspective, it’s got great doses of Vitamin A, B, K, C.  The B complex vitamins are apparently great for stress relief and improving your memory. I always need a bit of that!

If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s thin spiky leaf has a strong peppery flavour.  You don’t really get the same taste when this is cooked as I’ve used it in soups with not much effect on flavour.   I had it this weekend piled on top of these Salmon Fishcakes from Chris Horridge of GB Chefs and it was just perfect.

Copyright Urvashi Roe_GB chefs rocket-2

My version of Chris Horridge’s Salmon Fishcakes with Rocket Leaves dressed in Lime Vinaegrette

What do you call this amazing leaf? How do you like eating it? 

19 responses to “Arugula, Ruccola, Roquette or Rocket?

  1. I love rocket. My favourite ways to eat it are –
    On top of pizza
    In a pesto with parsley, basil & lemon
    In a salad with shaved Parmesan, pepper, lime juice & a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
    It’s great stirred through risotto or pasta

    Brilliant article. I really enjoyed reading it
    I read somewhere that rocket was brought to Britain by the Romans & that it was very popular in Roman times.


  2. hi d ear
    I am a FAN of rocket lettuce and the word actually. Love lettuce the most of any food, could have been a bunny in past lifei maybe?

    Thanks and cheers – from NY!


  3. We call it arugula, but it also answers to the name of “rocket.” I like it best as a salad green dressed with lemon (no oil), and added to sandwiches.


  4. I love rocket too. I am American but have lived here so long that I didn’t know of it when I lived ther. I probably have it everyday in some form or another. I grow it sometimes, but well away from my hens, who adore its peppery vibe. But the old stuff is yuck, so make sure you eat it young and small.


  5. We love rocket here, having it most days in one form or another. We also grow it but well away from our rocket-living hens! Btw, you probably know this but old rocket is leathery & super bitter. Eat while young & softly tender. It is feathered over last week’s double salmon & beetroot stack with cardamom-lemon creme fraiche.


  6. Yum! My parents grow it in the garden and its much tastier and spicier than the overprices supermarket bags! I eat it with everything: salad, pasta, sandwiches! yum!


  7. I am in love with the cupcake case planter – what a fantastic find!


    • I know. It’s enormous though. The pic on the website shows a baby sitting in it like a bath! I’m on a mission to find a smaller one (less expensive too)


  8. I call it rocket. I love it, it just adds so much zip and bite to a salad, very unlike what you will get with just plain lettuce leaves.


  9. It’s terrific on pizza!


  10. Your blog is so lovely and inspiring.Love rocket too!


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