Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Power of a little Rocket

Author: Stephen Swire
The Power of a little Rocket
No, I’m not talking about the Kennedy Space Center kind of rocket, but that little l green herb which is just so useful, and tasty, whatever the season.
I first became hooked on rocket when I was living on the Northern Queensland coast near Cairns, in Australia, and my American next door neighbour appeared at my door, holding a large Tupperware-style box. I say appeared because she was 4’11inches tall and used to wear a large gardening hat for shading the sun. If you were standing at my kitchen window you would see the hat silently waft passed the window, a bit like a moving object all on its own, and knew that Donna had arrived.

‘I’m going away for a few days, and I’ve made this rocket salad which I don’t want to go to waste. Would you like it?’ offering me the aforementioned Tupperware-style box. I’d only known her for a few weeks and our relationship had not been extended to more than exchanging pleasantries over the driveway when returning from shopping, so I did, for a couple of seconds think this a little strange, but being a straight forward kind of guy, (did I just say that?), I thanked her very much indeed, promising to return the box in a few days, after I’d enjoyed the contents. ‘Keep it in the refrigerator, and it’ll last you a few days,’ she advised in her North American drawl, and was gone, leaving me, standing in my kitchen with a tupperware box in my hand, watching the hat pass my window from left to right this time, as she returned to her home. I gingerly removed the lid and was immediately hit by the rich spicy aroma I have come to love. I reached for a fork and started poking around, and discovered the salad was dense with rocket leaves, onion rings and sliced tomatoes, in layers. She’d ‘dribbled’ a little oil and vinegar dressing across each layer. I started tasting…and have been a devoted fan of rocket ever since. Quite apart from the wonderful peppery taste and substance to the herb it’s been proven recently to have anti-ulcer properties, is great as a digestive stimulant and high in sulphur, iron and vitamins, all of which are good for one’s hair, skin and nails.

It’s become a popular salad favourite in European , Middle Eastern and South American cuisines and is delicious in salads when dressed with a little oil, vinegar and lemon juice. It can be used in open sandwiches, mixed with other assorted leaves, cooked gently and used with roasts and other oven-cooked meats - and it adds fabulous flavour to the skin when draped over a roast chicken in the oven. it resembles spinach when boiled gently. Use it as I tend to do, as a healthy helping on its own on top of some crisp iceberg lettuce, with an unhealthy dollop of mayonnaise on top! Another of my favourite uses is to chop some leaves very small, in the way you would parsley, and fold it into cooked hot pasta, before adding a main ingredient such as cooked chicken, bacon bits, tuna, or mushrooms. It adds a beautiful spicy flavour to the pasta which I find other herbs lack.
Make sure you cook your pasta in plenty of water with a good swirl of your favourite olive oil in the water first, so the pasta doesn’t stick together when you drain it, and the rocket will fold in nicely. For a vegetarian pasta meal try adding chopped rocket to some pasta along with some chopped sundried tomatoes which have been marinaded in olive oil, ('tomates toscana' if you’re here in Spain) and fold all the ingredients in gently. It’s absolutely delicious. So there you have it…the power of a little Rocket. Try my suggestions and make up your own mind and ideas…you’ll soon be hooked! Stephen Swire

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About the Author:
Stephen Swire lives in the Mediterranean in wonderful Ibiza, working daily on his writing, and taking advantage of worldwide electronic communications for his proofreading and copy-editing business, Proofread Your

No job is too small, (or too large!) and rates start at just £15/17euro - perfect to have those articles/ advertising copy/CVs checked out, so be sure to check out his website;
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