Watercress

About

Apples, broccoli and tomatoes are often cited as the “wonder” fruit and vegetables, but gram for gram, watercress is a better source of vitamins C, B1, B6, K and E, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Only raw broccoli has more vitamin C and magnesium – but it is much more often eaten cooked in this country. Watercress is brimming with beta-carotene and vitamin A equivalents - which as well as being important antioxidants are also needed for healthy skin and eyes - containing more than four times the amount of the other “wonder” foods. Watercress contains greater quantities of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, types of carotenoids that act as antioxidants, meaning they can mop up potentially damaging free radicals. Quercetin, a type of flavonoid and a powerful antioxidant, is also found in greater quantities in watercress than broccoli and tomatoes.

Storage

Watercress is best stored in your refrigerator crisper.

Cream of Watercress Soup

  • 6 oz. watercress, washed and dried
  • 1 Tablespoon sunflower or canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1-3/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1-3/4 cups whole milk or light cream
  • lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For garnish: sour cream

1. Heat the butter and oil over low heat until butter is melted. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes until soft but not brown.

2. Ad the diced potato and cook for another 3 minutes. Cover and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

3. Removed the watercress leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the stems.

4. Add the stock and milk to the onion/potatoes and stir in the chopped stems.

5. Season, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for about 12 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

5. Add all but a few of the watercress leaves (you’ll use the reserved whole leaves for garnish) and simmer for another 2 minutes.

6. Working in batches, purée the soup in a food processor or blender.

7. Return the soup to the saucepan and gently heat with the reserved whole leaves. Taste and season with the lemon juice and more salt and pepper if necessary.

To serve:

Ladle the soup into 4 warmed soup plates. Add a dollop of the sour cream and serve

Quick Watercress Guacamole

  • 2 avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 1 bag watercress
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 spring onions, chopped finely
  • juice of 1 lime
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • pinch ground cumin
  • pinch ground coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drop the watercress into boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge it into iced water, drain, squeeze dry and roughly chop. Blend the avocado and the watercress together with the yoghurt. Combine with the remaining ingredients.

Watercress, Rocket, Sweet Pear, Walnut and Parmesan Salad

Thank you Jennifer for submitting this perfect Jamie Oliver recipe!

  •  1 pear
  • 2 handfuls of watercress
  • 2 handfuls of greens with rocket.
  • Parmesan and Walnuts
  • Lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper

 

Cut pear and deseed. Cut up pear in chunks, slice or grate and then place in the bowl with watercress and greens. The peppery bite of the leaves works well with the sweetness of the pear. Drizzle with a good extra virgin olive oil just to coat, a small squeeze of lemon juice, and season well with salt and ground black pepper. Toss in some walnuts and shave over some parmesan just before serving. Great with roasted meats or as a starter on its own.