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Fried arugula bread

February 20, 2010

You may have noticed that yesterday’s white bean soup recipe had no carbohydrates in it.  Did I just toss some crusty bread alongside?  Well, I could have, and did for the leftovers, but for the main meal, which gave me ample time to play in the kitchen, I made fried arugula bread.

What on earth is fried arugula bread?  Well, it’s a lot like Chinese scallion pancakes.  In fact, it’s based on a fried scallion pancake from Judith and Evan Jones’ The Book of Bread.  I didn’t have any scallions, but figured a strongly flavored herb would substitute nicely.  And it did.  The peppery flavor of the arugula held up with the minimal frying.  Different from the scallions, but still tasty.  And very good with soup.

  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons fat of you choice at room temperature: olive oil, butter, lard (I usually use melted butter)
  • 3/4 Cup arugula, cut chiffonade
  • salt to taste
  • peanut oil or the like for frying

Mix the flour and water together until you have a cohesive mass; then turn on to a lightly floured surface.  Dough will be sticky and you will likely need to knead in more flour to make a smooth ball.  Let the dough sit for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into equal balls: the Jones’ divide into thirds; I prefer quarters because they’re a little smaller and easier to divide evenly between two people.  Roll out one ball on a floured surface with floured rolling-pin.

When you’ve got a thin (about the width of  dumpling wrappers or pierogi dough) round (or square . . . mine never roll out into perfect rounds), brush with 1/3 or 1/4 of your fat of choice, sprinkle liberally with salt and 1/3 or 1/4 of your arugula.

Roll up the circle or square and twist the roll like a rope.  Spiral the rope around itself and roll that out–but not as thin as before, maybe 1/2 inch thick.  Some of the arugula will break through, but you want most of it cradled by the dough.

Fry in medium hot oil (about what you’d use for breakfast pancakes–hot enough to cook but not so hot anything burns or smokes) until golden; flip and fry that side until golden as well.  Use tinfoil or a warmed oven/toaster oven to keep the fried breads hot while you repeat the steps with the remaining balls of dough.  Cut into quarters or sixths or some other desirable fraction and serve hot.

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