Watercress is related to mustard, hence the peppery taste. This arises when plant cells break down under chewing. Chewing watercress produces isothiocyanates, which are reputed to prevent cancer, boost the immune system and repair the damage caused by exercise and stress.
Watercress is a good partner to duck, chorizo, roast beef or (less obviously) roast chicken. It also partners well with oily fish such as salmon, trout or Cornish sardines. But white fish is also a possibility — click on the pic, left, for a recipe involving cod & Parma ham. To get the most out of watercress nutritionally, wash and eat raw, or cook or mix with hot food at the last minute. A little salad dressing can calm down its fierce taste, whether hot or cold.
Soup: with chicken stock and cream, watercress makes a famous soup (Diana, Princess of Wales, contributed a recipe for the same to the 1986 Food Aid cookbook). It makes a good cream sauce or accompanying soup, if you’re being posh (serve in a tiny coffee cup on the side of the plate).
Salads: for a classic winter salad, mix watercress with slices of red onion and orange; or try it with peaches and prosciutto. It goes very well indeed with mango.
Dip: Nigel Slater suggests chopping watercress with raw salmon, and stirring in plain yoghurt and lime juice.
Our wine buff, Richard J Smith of the Wine School of Cheshire says: Chardonnay works perfectly with watercress soup; especially if lightly or unoaked, such as Chapel Down Chardonnay. Grapes grown at their vineyard in Kent are not dissimilar to Chablis – the chalky soils bear many similarities to the French alternative.
Click on watercress.co.uk for lots more ideas.
The 2016 Watercress Festival has been confirmed:
15 May 2016 ALRESFORD Watercress Festival
Focuses on this “locally grown, delicious and versatile crop. The entire centre of New Alresford in Hampshire becomes a huge street festival, with Hampshire Farmers’ Market and others creating a large food market showcasing the very best local producers.
Award-winning and well known local chefs share their passion for watercress during cookery demonstrations” plus music, arts & crafts, ents, petting farm & more for kids
Click on website or tweet to get the full details.
The Taster hopes this page has given you a few ideas and useful links for watercress. For more ingredients, click HERE.