Watercress is without a doubt one of my favorite seasonal greens. Find it tucked in with herbs in the produce department or sold in small baskets at farmers’ markets.
But have you ever seen this spicy member of the cruciferous family growing wild in a woodland stream?
The photo I’m sharing is one that I took a few days ago in my “secret” watercress spring-fed creek bed.
Look closely at the photo. Check out the color: a gorgeous bright green. Leaves are rounded, with somewhat pointy leaves. The peppery, mustardy flavor gets more pronounced as the plant matures.
Flavor is just one component of this superfood. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals.We eat most of the cress raw in salads or sandwiches. But every once in a while, I’ll stir a big handful into hot broth right before I ladle it into bowls. The vibrant color fades to a soft green as it wilts and flavors the broth. Beyond yummy.
So be a bit adventurous this spring and enjoy watercress as much as you can this season.
I’ve got you started with a Mediterranean cress salad and cucumber sandwiches. Cucumber and watercress go together well.
Watercress salad with tomatoes, goat cheese and Greek olives
Arugula, thought not as peppery, is a good substitute for watercress.
Go to taste on ingredients.
1 nice bunch watercress, torn coarsely, stems removed
Grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
Greek olives, slivered
Chives or a small amount of minced red onion
Goat cheese or Feta
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1 very small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried or fresh basil to taste
Gently mix watercress, tomatoes and olives together. Stir in chives.
Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss gently, then top with cheese.
Cucumber watercress sandwiches
English cucumbers cut into very thin slices and placed on paper towels to remove moisture
Good bread, crusts trimmed
Garlic herb cheese filling
A keeper. Rivals the store bought garlic herb spread.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon each: dried thyme, oregano, basil and dill
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Palmful minced watercress, or pepper to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Use a food processor or mix by hand.
Blend cream cheese and butter together, then add everything else, mixing well. Keeps up to 2 weeks in covered container in refrigerator.
Either cut the trimmed bread into shapes with cookie cutters for a tea party look, or simply spread filling on trimmed bread, top with cucumbers and another slice of trimmed bread, then cut with serrated knife into squares, triangles, etc.
Or you can go “topless” – spread filling on and top with cucumbers and a sprig of watercress.
To make with fresh herbs, use 3 times amount of fresh to dried.
Sprinkle a tiny bit of minced chives on top.