So, rocket, or arugula, or even more irritatingly, roquette.* It grows like a weed in my parents’ garden and there’s only so much that can be used in salads or as decoration. Mum gave me a huge bunch after a weeding session and probably thought it would sit in my fridge until it was thrown out.
To be honest, I was a bit worried when I came to the bunch of rocket a couple of days later … but mum had done the Jamie Oliver trick of wrapping the herb in damp kitchen roll and then putting it in a plastic bag and it was as good as new.
The most painful part of this recipe was picking over the rocket and stripping the leaves. If you go and buy a bag of rocket from the supermarket you won’t have to worry about that (it’s also likely that your rocket won’t have quite as much flavour as home grown, but you can’t have everything).
Throw your rocket, with a clove or two of garlic, into a food processor (we all know that that was my trusty MagiMix), and chop it finely. Add some pinenuts (you don’t need to toast them and walnuts make a perfectly adequate substitute), a good few handfuls of grated parmesan and mix it all up, adding some good quality extra virgin olive oil, to arrive at the consistency you want. Taste as you go along … if you’re generous with the parmesan, you may not need salt. If you want to use this as salad dressing, add more oil, if it’s to be used on canapés, use less.
This isn’t really a recipe – it’s a technique. Some bought pestos aren’t bad (and some are outright awful), but this but a few moments to put together and is far tastier than anything you’ll ever find on a supermarket shelf. And if you have free rocket it is also far far cheaper.
Just look at the gorgeous colour!
*Most people are neither Italian nor French, so unless you are going to start referring to basilico or basilic you have no business called rocket anything other than rocket!