Rocket leaves are added to all of this week's tasty recipes

Mid April is when the first of the rocket leaves are pushing their way through the soil on my window sill, the fiery, peppery leaf has many uses and it one of the easiest things to grow in Ireland. 

Rocket will continue to produce leaves throughout the summer months and if you have a glut you can always make a flavoured oil or pesto. 

I cut the individual leaves as required and add them to salads, top a pizza or fill out a sandwich. 

One of the nicest ways to eat rocket is simply drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, then a sprinkling of some grated Parmesan. 

The peppery leaf was originally most popular in the Mediterranean region. 

Its slightly bitter leaves have an intense peppery flavour and work well cutting through rich foods. 

Rocket leaves are added to all of this week's tasty recipes

Rocket is a rich source of iron as well as vitamins A and C. 

The flowers of the plant are also edible and look great as they share the same fiery taste as the leaves.

I made a lovely spread for toast last week by liquidising some young rocket leaves with an avocado, a drop of lime juice and pinch of chilli flakes. 

It is fresh and spicy and particularly good topped with a runny poached egg. 

Soup is also a good way to use rocket especially with some sautéed courgettes. 

The last recipe is for a white soda bread which can be adapted with many different flavorsome additions. 

I like the mix of the salty olive with the fiery rocket, but you can as easily use another variety of ingredients to create flavour. 

Once the main components in the soda bread are kept the same; the flour, salt, soda and buttermilk, the other more flavour enhancing additions can be varied to suit your tastes.

QUICK MID-WEEK MEALS

Rocket and rasher open sandwich topped with a fried egg

If I am having a lazy evening cooking I often put together a quick egg open sandwich like this one.

8 streaky rashers

8 eggs

8 slices if bread, toasted

2 tbs of chutney

2 large handfuls of rocket leaves

a drizzle of olive oil

Grill the rashers until cooked to your liking.

Fry the eggs to your liking. I have a lovely powdered Dillisk seaweed that I sprinkle over eggs as they are frying. 

It is from a company called Wild Irish Sea Veg located in Co Clare.

Spread the toasted bread with the chutney and top with the rocket, rasher and then the egg. 

Season to taste.

Rocket with flaked salmon, pomegranate and pumpkin seeds

Rocket leaves are added to all of this week's tasty recipes

3 fillets of salmon

2 tsp of smoked paprika

olive oil

lemon juice and zest

1 tsp of honey

1 pomegranate, seeds removed and juice saved

a handful of pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped

4 large handfuls of rocket leaves

Sprinkle the paprika over the salmon as well as some seasoning, drizzle with a little oil and fry in an oven proof pan, skin side down for two minutes. 

Place the pan under a medium grill and cook for a further two minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Mix the lemon juice, zest, olive oil and honey. Season to taste.

Flake the salmon into bite size pieces.

Toss the rocket leaves in the dressing and gently toss the salmon, pomegranate through. 

Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and serve with some crunchy bread.

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND

Pea, rocket and spring onion salad

Rocket leaves are added to all of this week's tasty recipes

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 tbs of lemon juice and zest

200g of frozen peas

1 tsp of honey

3 tbs of olive oil

200g of sugar snap peas

2 large handfuls of rocket leaves

a small bunch of chives

150g of parmesan, peeled into tin strips with a vegetable peeler

This is nice as a side dish to a leg of roast lamb or makes a light lunch.

Stir the garlic into the lemon juice and allow it to sit for three minutes.

Boil the peas until heated and drain.

Stir the honey, zest and oil into the lemon juice and taste and season.

Toss both types of peas with the rocket and chives and toss in the dressing. 

Taste and season and sprinkle with the cheese.

Green olive and rocket soda bread

Rocket leaves are added to all of this week's tasty recipes

1 tsp of bread soda

1 tsp of fine sea salt

450g plain white flour

390mls of buttermilk

50g of green olives, stones removed and roughly chopped

two large handfuls of rocket leaves, very finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

Stir the bread soda and salt through the flour. Sieve them into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. 

Pour in the buttermilk, bring the flour together with the liquid using your hand until it forms a dough. Knead in the olives and the chopped rocket. 

Shape into a round loaf and place on a floured baking tray. 

With a large knife press a cross shape into the loaf and prick the center of each quarter. 

Bake for 45 minutes until the crust is starting to turn golden. If you turn the loaf upside down and tap on it it should sound hallow when baked. 

Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.


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