Language is a funny old thing. Order a rocket soup in some places and you’ll be met with blank stares. In others, a joke about how fast you want it. In yet more, you’ll be handed a steaming hot bowl of tasty, green arugula soup.
Yep, arugula is rocket and rocket is arugula. It’s the same great leaf, whatever you call it.
The name ‘arugula’ seems to have been brought to the US by Southern Italian immigrants – the Latin word for it is ‘Eruca’. (Here’s a short history if you want it).
Coming to be known as ‘roquette’ in France, the English (always delighted to steal and change words from the French) took it and pronounced it the more palatable ‘rocket’.
And so, we finally arrive at rocket soup. Or arugula soup, if you will.
Rocket Soup / Arugula Soup
This soup just has so much going for it! The main flavour is provided by the lovely, peppery rocket leaves, mixed with softly cooked onions and just a hint of a background mustard taste.
The thick, bitey texture of the soup is provided by the potatoes and leek, and it’s very comforting and satisfying.
Our favourite way to eat it is with a chopped cucumber mixed with a pinch of sugar and salt then drizzled over the top. It’s really refreshing and makes for a pleasing contrast.
Naturally, this rocket soup is perfect as a starter or appetizer. It’s also definitely good as a main meal too, it just needs something extra with it.
My personal favourite is to chop up some day-old bread and fry it in oil as croutons. Just before they’re done throw in a little pressed garlic and fry for another thirty seconds or so.
And finally – know your leaves
Rocket/Arugula leaves tend to fluctuate wildly in terms of flavour (and therefore enjoyment). If you’re not blown away by your rocket, try another brand, store or market. Shop around until you find a flavour you really like.
Never forget to give your rocket a good wash before turning it into soup – grains of dirt love to linger in hidden pockets so be sure to get it all out first!
Rocket/Arugula Soup – The International Soup
Optional but highly recommended:
- 2 slices whole wheat bread (slightly hardened)
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ clove garlic
- Slice the leek and shallots thinly. Fry slowly on a low-medium heat for 5 minutes in a large saucepan, don’t let them burn.
- Chop the potato into small pieces and add them and the vegetable broth to the pan. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the potato is soft.
- Finally, add the vegan cream, rocket/arugula, mustard, pepper, nutmeg and salt. Give it all a good blend with a hand blender. You can make it completely smooth, or leave a few lumps for texture.
- While the soup is cooking, slice the cucumber very thinly. Put in a bowl and mix with the sugar and some salt. Fry the pine nuts (without oil) and put aside.
- If you would like croutons, slice the bread into squares and fry in olive oil on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add some pressed/crushed garlic and fry for another thirty seconds. Done!
- When serving, garnish with a little cucumber mix and pine nuts. Add croutons if using. Done!