Recipe: How to Make an Italian Arugula (Rocket) Mushroom Lemon Parmesan Salad

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Arugula Mushroom Parmesan Salad

4.3 stars from 7 ratings of Arugula Mushroom Parmesan Salad

Italian Arugula (Rocket, Rucola, Rughetta) Salad

My Italian recipe is for a simple, elegant salad made with bright green arugula, (or rocket, rucola or rughetta), white Champignon mushrooms and creamy colored Parmesan cheese, dressed with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and a pinch of salt. It's a particular combination of strong tastes and smart colors yet it is versatile - and lends itself to more than a few tasty dishes through most of the year:

  • Salad brunch-type meal, particularly in early summer when the arugula plants begin to grow
  • Side salad dish for hot or cold roasts in Fall
  • Stuffing for inside a wrap or 'Piadina' (unleavened flat bread')
  • Pizza topping ideas (without the lemon!)

Facts about the Arugula Plant

ERUCA VESICARIA SATVIA comes from the mustard family, and is related to radishes and watercress, hence its bitter taste.

It grows wild in much the same way wild asparagus, nettles and chicory grow wild and wasn't cultivated until the 20th century.

Arugula, or, rocket, roquette, rucola or rughetta became a gourmet food after 1980's when it was introduced into markets in the UK and USA.

It is a native Mediterranean plant. The ancient Romans mixed the seeds with olive oil and considered it an aphrodisiac.

Italians have a Seasonal Culinary Calender

What makes Italian cooking delicious is that at its core it is purely simple. Local specialties are served freshly, in season - when the produce is at its best; when the vitamins and minerals and taste fizzle with newness, when they are their most bounteous.

As ripened fruits, salads and vegetables are picked and sold in the markets, so the people of Italy fuss about how they should best be eaten - gradually developing great and famous meals, every season, every year - through centuries.

The dish (or the cheese, conserve, dried food etc.) that an Italian housewife made last August or November, say, will be made again in the same way this August or November, because produce ripens then. By now, they have their recipes down.

We bottle tomatoes and make pesto in August. We make sausages and new wine and olive oil in November. Over Easter the baker shops sell fruit and spice loaves made with dried summer figs - and so on. Every month has a calender of culinary jobs to do, so we're on top of the freshest foods (cooked just the way Nonna made them).

Piadena with Arugula Salad

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Piadena with Arugula SaladPiadena stuffed with arugula salad
Piadena with Arugula Salad
Piadena with Arugula Salad | Source
Piadena stuffed with arugula salad
Piadena stuffed with arugula salad | Source

Arugula or Rughetta is Delicious in Salads in Summer and Fall

There are many recipes for arugula, but here in Tuscany, it's used mostly in our salads, as a side salad to roast meats, in a piadena (unleavened flat bread), or as a pizza topping. Here we call it rughetta. Older women call it erbetta, which means 'wild grass' - you can't fool them:

  • Arugula grows easily from spring through the summer in Italy (and again in the fall); the taste of its leaves becoming more peppery as the sun shines on them. It's a strongly contrasting salad growing through the season of sweeter-tasting vegetables (such as tomatoes, sweet peppers, courgette, salads, egg plant). Arugula is a 'tart' break for discerning taste buds.
  • Woodsy, white Champignon mushrooms (grown in local greenhouses) have a delicate earthiness and rubbery consistency that sisters-up to the best side of arugula.
  • Parmesan's deep nutty flavor (if it is the real Parmigiano Reggiano) is sweet and rich - and the cream of it on the palette combines the other flavors as a good cheese always does!
  • A juicy soft squeezed lemon off the tree (or from the supermarket) cuts the cream, brings the taste back to sharp and peppery.
  • Extra virgin olive oil will roll it all round your mouth and bring out all the flovors as well as impart it's own earth-like ooze taste.
  • Salt heightens all the flavors and helps your digestion.

If arugula was a musical instrument, it's the castanets. It's got a 'crack, crack' sound to be reckoned with in the drowsy, cello-like abundance of heavy, laden summer. If it was in a desert, it would be the cardamom, because you really have to deal with that pungent kick. If it was in a crowd of people, it would be the kid on his bike you have to move out of the way for.

In a salad, it's a part of a threesome, but it's the one with the stiletto heels.

In Italy it is given an intruders welcome - since the older generation know it's really only 'erbetta'. They like it as a newcomer these days. Newer restaurants might serve it proudly. The young love it. It is very, very cool.

And today no decent market garden is without it.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: Serves 2 people
Ingredients arugula, Champignon mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, lemon and olive oil
Ingredients arugula, Champignon mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, lemon and olive oil | Source

Ingredients

  • 125 g arugula, (young leaves)
  • 140 g Champignon mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 150 g Parmesan Reggiano, shredded
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch salt
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sliced Parmesan, Champignon and lemon juicePouring extra virgin olive oil over the saladServe!
Sliced Parmesan, Champignon and lemon juice
Sliced Parmesan, Champignon and lemon juice | Source
Pouring extra virgin olive oil over the salad
Pouring extra virgin olive oil over the salad | Source
Serve!
Serve! | Source

Instructions

  1. Wash and spin dry tender green leaves of arugula. Set aside.
  2. Wipe fresh Champignon mushrooms with a damp cloth and finely slice. Set aside.
  3. Flake the cheese off the Parmesan with a vegetable peeler. Set aside.
  4. Squeeze a ripe lemon. Set aside the juice.
  5. In a pretty salad bowl or serving dish assemble: the arugula, top over with mushrooms and top over again with Parmesan cheese flakes.
  6. Pour over the extra virgin olive oil and mix the salad deftly with your hands (to keep salad leaves crisp).
  7. Pour lemon juice and add salt to taste. Lightly toss.
  8. Serve!
Arugula, shaved Parmesan and finely sliced Champignon mushrooms
Arugula, shaved Parmesan and finely sliced Champignon mushrooms | Source

Arugula Mushroom and Parmesan Salad

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 portions
Calories 988
Calories from Fat9
% Daily Value *
Fat 1 g2%
Carbohydrates 4 g1%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 108 g216%
Cholesterol 255 mg85%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Vitamins and Minerals

Ingredient
Vitamin or Mineral
Value
Per
Arugula
A
1%
2 gr
Mushroom
C
2%
70 gr
Mushroom
Iron
2%
70 gr
Parmesan
A
1%
10 gr
Parmesan
Calcium
12%
10 gr
Olive Oil
Iron
7%
216 gr
Lemon Juice
C
187%
244 gr
Lemon Juice
Calcium
2%
244 gr
Lemon Juice
A
1%
244 gr
www.NutricianData.com

Pizza Topping Ideas

You will need 200 grams of mozzarella.


The salad is great on white pizza or as a filling for a piadena.

Just don't add the lemon juice.

For Pizza topping, simply:

  • Add 200 grams of chopped mozzarella to the pizza bread
  • Heat in a 180° oven for 8 minutes (or not!)
  • Top with Arugula, Mushroom and Parmesan Salad

To fill a Piadena

  • Heat your 'piadena' (flat bread) in a griddle on top of the cooker (or for a few minutes in a 180° oven)
  • Add chopped mozzarella,
  • Before rolling it up - the Salad
  • Roll and stick a toothpick in to keep it together.

Buon Appetito!

© 2012 Penelope Hart

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Comments 18 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I usually add arugula to salads as I really like the taste of it. I've never thought of making an entire salad out of it. This looks wonderful and I'll try your recipe soon.

Rated, pinned, and shared.


hecate-horus profile image

hecate-horus 4 years ago from Rowland Woods

Looks and sounds great! Thanks for sharing! Voted up.


LauraGSpeaks profile image

LauraGSpeaks 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

I think the Parmesan Reggiano would be my favorite part of the salad. I love cheese--its the perfect naughty compliment to a healthy salad! Voted up.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

I love the idea of topping a pizza with this salad. An excellent way to incorporate some raw nutritious goodness into such a meal. I do top my pizzas with arugula all the time.

This Hub was much more than I expected, great work, congratulations.


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Susan. I do appreciate your ratings and pinning and for sharing! Thanks!

hecate-horus. Thanks for your voting -up. So great of you

Laura. Hi. Parmesan is wonderful on this salad, so really hope you enjoy it. Thanks for vote!

Claudia Tello, Many thanks for appreciative comments.


toomuchmint profile image

toomuchmint 4 years ago

This is such a great recipe. I grow wriggle, but never know what to do with it. This salad is perfect. Thanks!


twinstimes2 profile image

twinstimes2 4 years ago from Ohio

A fun read and a great recipe. Well done!


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

toomuchmint. Really hope you enjoy your 'wriggle' salad and thanks for comment!

twisntimes2, hi! nice to hear from you and thanks x


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales

You are a recipe-Hubmaker extraordinaire! Superb - a viusal feast. I bet the salad is gorgeous too!


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Nice ragged! Hope you try the salad because it's really good. Thanks so much great commenting.


chrissieklinger profile image

chrissieklinger 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I so need to live in Italy, in the meantime I will make this yummy dish and dream! Such a wonderful hub, I love all the choices you gave for these few simple ingredients.


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Hope you come and visit when you come over chrissie and thanks so much for comments.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK

Love your recipes, not only splendid photos, but great descriptive writing too - the castanets of the salad world!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

I love rocket. Love, love, love it in fact! This looks really tasty with the shavings of parmesan. I can almost taste it in my mind already. Will have to have soon! Thanks for the recipe - and for the information. I've often wondered why sometimes rocket is more peppery than others, and now I know!


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Glad you love this one. It's a kicking salad! Thanks so much for your comments, which I do so appreciate.


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Melovy! It's a great taste break from wintry foods so I do hope you like it. Thank you so much for your comments.


missolive profile image

missolive 2 years ago from Texas

Hi GoodLady! I have plenty of spinach and baby greens in my fridge. I think I'll get just plain arugula next time, this salad recipe looks delicious and refreshing. I love the parmesan shavings. Goodness, my mouth is watering. I'm pinning, voting up and tweeting.


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 2 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Buon appetito. When arugula is in season, it's an amazing food! Totally exciting and perfect with Parmesan and lemon.

Many thanks for dropping by! Appreciated.

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