A nice, crispy summer lettuce salad…no way on a puréed diet. And puréed lettuce of any kind just doesn’t sound good to me. Then I thought of arugula. It is packed with flavor and isn’t too watery. And it makes a really good pesto! So what about a raw arugula purée à la pesto (to mix Romance languages). Ditch the nuts, but keep a touch of garlic, cut down on the olive oil, and add a touch of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This turned out OK! It was good with slices of tomato gelée and ham loaf for a cold lunch plate, and my dad scraped the plate clean the first time! Later, however, he admitted he was not so keen on it. But who knows? Someone else might like it.
NOTE: Be careful with the Thickit! Too much made the “salad,” well, slimy. Also, this does not keep well–not even overnight. So make one portion at a time.
- About 2 packed cups of baby arugula
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- about 4-5 good twists of the black pepper grinder
- 1/4 Teaspoon of salt (to start)
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (to start)
- 1/4 Teaspoon of freshly squeezed Lemon Juice (or more depending on your taste).
- 1 or so Teaspoons of Thick-It*
Wash and spin the arugula in a salad spinner. When it is good and dry, place it in the bowl of your food processor. Process until it is roughly chopped. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the processor a few times to return the arugula to the blades. Using a micro-grater, grate a clove of garlic into the bowl of the food processor until half is gone. Scrape any garlic remaining on the grater into the bowl as well. Add the salt, pepper, and olive oil to the bowl and continue processing, scraping the arugula back towards the blades as needed–which may be quite a lot! Add more oil as needed, but not that much more. You don’t want it as oily as a pesto. When the mixture is close to being a purée, taste it, correct the salt level, and blend in the lemon juice. When it is close to–but not too–puréed (you don’t want arugula juice!) blend in the Thick-It and let it rest for a few minutes. Then it will be ready to serve!
* The last time I made this, I worried about the consistency–mainly because this purée is not a complete purée. I added the Thick-It, and voilà! It smoothed out the consistency and gave the purée a much better quality for swallowing.