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Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.
Today: We're talking about arugula flowers, an edible flower with a peppery bite -- perfect for adorning all of your spring dishes.
We know you’re familiar with arugula, and you probably remember that once arugula has bolted, the leaves become quite bitter -- at that point, they're best suited to being cooked. Though there is an upside to a lack of leaves for your salad: arugula flowers. There are dozens of types of edible flowers, but arugula flowers are arguably one of the prettiest (until we fall under the spell of the next type to appear at the market, that is). They don't have nasturtiums’ showy colors, but they're subtle standouts nonetheless. They have white or cream-colored petals, with deep purple veins, and the blossoms are a little nutty and a little peppery -- just like arugula leaves.
Look for arugula flowers at your farmers market throughout the spring and summer. They might be hard to find -- but if domenicacooks and MrsWheelbarrow can find them, we hope you can too. Keep your eyes peeled! After you procure them, use them quickly, as they are extremely perishable. Even a day makes a difference, as they wilt (1) quickly.
Embellish everything in sight with your arugula flowers: green salad, pasta, soup. Arugula flowers also pair nicely with eggs. Use them to top a frittata, a quiche, an egg sandwich, or follow Deborah Madison’s lead and pair them with hard-cooked eggs in a salad, then dress it with walnut oil and red wine vinegar. Use them every day of the week! For recipes below that don’t specifically call for arugula flowers, just garnish away.
Saturday: Potato and Arugula Flower Parathas
Sunday: Soft Scrambled Eggs
Monday: Roasted Beet & Blood Orange Salad with Arugula Flowers
Tuesday: Creamy Arugula and Lettuce Soup
Wednesday: Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Arugula
Thursday: Prosciutto and Fontina Panini with Arugula Pesto (Try this as an open-faced sandwich instead of pressing it to show off a sprinkling of blooms.)
Friday: Seared Scallops with Grilled Sweet Onion, Red Pepper Coulis, and Arugula Flowers
Photos by James Ransom