Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sauteed Arugula with Bell Pepper

LESLIE: A few years ago, when arugula had just become trendy, I was out to eat with my mother. She spotted something on the menu with it and asked “What’s so great about arugula?” (Imagine a sniffy, skeptical tone.) I ordered the dish --- I have no idea now what it was -- and when it came, I gave her a bite. “Oh,” she said. (Imagine astonishment.) “That tastes like rocket.”

Because rocket is what it was called for years in this country. It’s part of the Brassicaceae family, along with broccoli, kale, and all kinds of cabbages and cresses. The taste is fresh and peppery, but not hot. Suffice to say, my mother loved it. (Because she was kind of spicy and hot.)

This saute is super-easy and goes well with steak, chicken, or fish. The astute among you may notice that my bell pepper changed color. This is not a natural by-product of cooking. < smile > One of my photos from the original try-out was blurry, so when we made it again later in the week, with a different pepper, I got a better shot.

In cooking the greens, aim for “wilted” rather than “cooked.” That will take the off the bitter edge but still give you a lovely, brightly colored dish. If you enjoy a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes when you add the garlic.

Sauteed Arugula with Bell Peppers

1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces baby arugula
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the peppers and saute until they begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the garlic and saute briefly, about a minute.

Gradually add the arugula and stir gently until it begins to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir gently. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

(And no, the peppers didn't change color! We made this twice and I intermingled the photos.) 

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and is now nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

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  1. Arugula is great stuff. I like this idea of sauteing it.

  2. Looks so pretty and easy! Thanks for reminding me arugula can be cooked, and maybe hubby will like it that way, as he finds it bitter. (I'm the pepper gal in the family, he's Mr. Salty, lol)I remember making friends with a South African woman in 2000 where she called it rocket and I had to ask for an explanation! :)