Call it nutrient-dense, cancer-fighting, immune-system boosting — it’s SUPERFOOD. Obviously, the watercress farmers have hired a Shakespearean PR guy. And you’re still wondering what in the world are they buzzing about?
Call it nutrient-dense, cancer-fighting, immune-system boosting — it’s SUPERFOOD.
Obviously, the watercress farmers have hired a Shakespearean PR guy. And you’re still wondering what in the world are they buzzing about?
For some culinary quirk, watercress hasn’t caught on here. If we believe its puffery, it’s a worldwide staple. OK, maybe just in England where “they use it in everything.” Maybe the problem is watercress looks like clover, and we all know only rabbits eat clover.
My green grocer tells me if I want it, he must special order it. It’s a delicate, leafy thing, and he doesn’t sell enough of it to stock it. The price? $4.38 a bunch. I made him repeat it twice to make sure. Of course, that just piqued my interest. Go for it, Jim.
It isn’t something like chocolate milk or chicken tenders, which are staples. Watercress is a treat. For all its humble ambiance, it’s a worthy food. We’ll excuse it being closer to a grass than an herb.
I really like its origins. If you carefully judge its leaves, they look like mini nasturtiums. Indeed, watercress gets its genes from my favorite summer flower. And it tastes a lot like them.
Nasturtium leaves are famous (among a handful of folks) for their peppery addition to salads. Watercress on a much more subtle level does the same.
Big plus: They add crunch and a velvety texture to whatever. They’re robust enough to make a sandwich all by themselves at English tea parties. (I’d add a layer of cream cheese, but then I’m a peasant.)
There’s a watercress cream soup on my bucket list. Grind those cute greens into some cream and shredded Asiago cheese.
If you’re a sprouts/wrap fan, watercress would work for you, adding more flavor. I’d say it can go into any recipe requiring lettuce, and it really peps up salads.
Keep it in the bunch when you buy it. Place the stems in a jar of water in the fridge. Then trim off what you want. They last about as long as parsley.
Creamed Watercress Soup
1 cup watercress, packed
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
3 cups chicken broth (canned is OK)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Asiago or other melting cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon dry white wine, dry
Salt and pepper
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Season lightly with salt and pepper and add potato and chicken broth. Boil until soft.Pick over watercress and chop 4 or five sprigs and set them aside for garnish. Puree broth mixture in a blender. Add rest of watercress and cheese, blend and season to taste, return to medium heat. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes stirring. Add cream and stir for 2 minutes. Serve hot or chilled with a watercress garnish on top. Serves 4
Watercress Feta Accompli
1 bunch watercress
1/4 cup pecan or walnut halves
1/4 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
8 marinated Greek olives such as Kalamata
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 green onion with top, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Divide watercress, nuts, cheese and olives between four plates. Mix dressing and pour over or serve on the side. Serves 4