Tell-a-FriendWatercress

Posted in Spices and Herbs  
Watercress 

Watercress belongs to the mustard family and is an aquatic salad green that is also considered an herb. It has a pleasantly strong bite and pairs well with lighter flavourings, especially in sauces. While originating in Asia and Europe, “cress” is found growing wild in clear waters throughout many countries. Commercially grown plants are harvested from protected beds that are free of contaminants.

While it is often used fresh and as a garnish, watercress can be puréed with potatoes or chickpeas. Watercress sandwiches are a long-standing staple at teatime in Great Britain.

Season
Watercress is available year-round.
Purchase
Watercress is typically sold in bunches, but smaller markets may stock it loose in bins. Look for firm stalks and large, dark leaves that are relatively clean.
Avoid
Sniff watercress and avoid any with an unpleasant smell.
Storage
Keep moist in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Do not wash. Watercress will remain fresh for up to five days. For freezing, wash and chop or purée.
Preparation
  • Soak in cold water to revive tired leaves.

  • Wash under cool running water.

  • Pat dry with paper towels or place in a salad spinner.

  • Trim small cresses away from their root-balls with scissors. For salad or quick cooking, trim watercress leaves and discard the larger tough stems. If making soup, retain the stems.

Serving Suggestions
  • Blanch, drain, and blend with a favourite salad oil or dressing.

  • Use in combination with lettuce on sandwiches.

  • Crush or coarsely process and add to rice dishes.

  • Blend watercress, scallions, and yogurt or buttermilk and serve with salmon.

  • Serve watercress as a bed for roast beef or roast chicken so that it wilts and absorbs the juices.

  • Combine sprigs of watercress, orange or ruby grapefruit segments, and toasted almonds with shreds of Chinese barbecued duck meat or confit of duck, then dress with sherry vinegar and virgin olive oil.

Flavour Affinities
  • buttermilk

  • cucumber

  • egg

  • goat cheese

  • mushrooms

  • potatoes

  • rice

  • roasted meats

  • tofu

  • tomatoes

  • yogurt

Category: Spices and Herbs

Sub Category: Herb

Total Views: 752

Word Count: 523

Comment on Twitter

More Articles in "Spices and Herbs"

Nutmeg and Mace
Posted 19-04-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Nutmeg and Mace
Nutmeg is the large, light grayish brown, speckled, wood-hard kernel that grows inside the apricot-like fruit of a tropical tree (Myristica fragrans)…
View Details »
Allspice
Posted 03-11-2009 in Spices and Herbs
Allspice
Allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, especially cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, hence the name…
View Details »
Speserye
Posted 03-10-2009 in Spices and Herbs
Speserye
Eksotiese speserye van regoor die wêreld is deesdae tot ons beskikking – tog beteken die beskikbaarheid daarvan maar min as jy nie weet hoe om dit te…
View Details »
Szechuan Peppercorns
Posted 19-04-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Szechuan Peppercorns
Szechuan peppercorns are the dried husks that surround the seeds of the Chinese prickly ash tree (Zanthoxylum simulans). Usually reddish brown, the fruits…
View Details »
Asafetida
Posted 12-04-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Asafetida
Asafetida (Hing) is an essential ingredient in Indian vegetarian cooking. Asafetida is the strong-smelling, even stinking, dried brownish resin extracted…
View Details »

All Articles in "Spices and Herbs"