No, nothing explodes nor lifts off in this salad. Rocket is another name for arugula, Eruca vesicaria, my favorite salad vegetable. The British, Australians, Irish and New Zealanders call it rocket; Americans and Canadians call it arugula. If you’re scratching your head wondering how English speaking people can have such different names for the same vegetable, read on.
Rocket comes from the Italian Ruchetta or rucola, short for the Latin word eruca. Strangely enough, arugula is also derived from rucola. I can’t decide whether rocket or arugula sounds more like rucola. Rocket, however, has been in use longer than arugula which did not appear in the American English vocabulary until 1960 when food writer Craig Claiborne wrote about the confusion over the names of the salad vegetable in an article in The New York Times.
So, if you want to make a salad with Eruca vesicaria, ask for rocket if you’re shopping in Britain, Australia, New Zealand or Ireland and ask for arugula if you’re in the United States or Canada.
Rocket and Mushroom Salad
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 to 3 button mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tiny pinch grated garlic
- 1 handful rocket (arugula) rinsed and spun dry
- 1 small sweet onion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped roasted nuts any kind of nut
- paper-thin slices cheese any good cheese is fine (see notes after the recipe)
- Heat a pan and add the butter.
- When the butter sizzles, add the mushrooms in a single layer. Cook over high heat until lightly browned, flipping them over midway through the cooking.
- Sprinkle in a bit of salt and pepper and toss.
- Scoop out, transfer to a plate and cool while you make the honey-balsamic dressing.
- To make the dressing, stir together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- To assemble the salad, in a mixing bowl, toss the rocket, mushrooms and onions with the honey balsamic dressing.
- Transfer the tossed salad to a plate, sprinkle the nuts over it then add shaved cheese.