Quick to grow (hence it's name) and utterly delicious on pizza and in salad. Rocket - As popular now as it was in Roman times due to it's wonderfully strong and peppery flavour. I often wonder in amazement how a thing that grows in earth from a tiny seed, can have such a strong flavour rocket, be so fragrant like coriander, be so sweet like beetroot or a strawberry, or be as flavoursome as basil or parsley, or as crunchy as a carrot !!! Rocket is easy to grow as it's a single leaf which sticks out of the ground, it grows quickly and we've already covered the taste. It does have a quirk in that it is prone to 'bolting' or going to seed. Luckily though, the flowers are edible too, and they look very pretty in a salad. It has a long sowing season from Mar-Aug , so you can get lots of quick successive cuttings. You can do it in a pot or in the earth, and a little goes a long way, and it just needs to be sprinkled just under the surface, ½cm down. Adding a little sand will help if you have heavy soil. It can suffer from a pest called the flea beetle. This turns the leaves of you rocket into lace. It'll be full of pin sized holes with brown edges. Cut it back, re-sow, but don't dig it back into the soil as you'll attract even more flea beatle. Just one of those things.
It has a lot of uses in the kitchen. You can throw it into a salad, a sandwich (try prawns or roastbeef with rocket), it goes well with strong cheeses like Roquefort or Dolcelatte, in frittata (Italian omlettes), on 'Bruschetta' and on the classic pizza 'Rucola e Bresaola' (cured fillet of beef). If you like pesto, instead of using basil, use rocket. This makes a good dip and an even better pasta sauce. But be careful as there are 2 types of rocket, and one is stronger than the other, so adjust your recipes accordingly. They are:
Cultivated Rocket - Also called salad rocket. It works like this….sow, eat, sow, eat, sow……it's an 'annual', and once you've picked it you'll need to re-sow it again. The leaves are larger than wild rocket leaves and the seed is much bigger too. It has a milder flavour and is the rocket we see and use most in the UK. Very easy to grow.