Watercress - ways to eat it and recipes
Native to Europe and Asia watercress is in season from March through to September. This peppery, aquatic member of the brassica family is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables to be eaten by humans.
Best eaten raw, just give it a good washing and drying off before using in a multitude of different ways. Delicious in a salad or in wraps and sandwiches, soups or as a garnish.
Chicken and Watercress Stir Fry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 chicken fillets, sliced
6 spring onions, sliced
2 carrots, peed and cut into sticks
100g broccoli florets
75g frozen soy beans
5cm piece root ginger, grated
1 clove garlic crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
100g bag watercress roughly chopped
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
noodles to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok, add the chicken and stir fry for 4 mins until golden. Add the onions, carrots and broccoli florets, add 2tbsp water and stir fry for 3 mins until tender.
Stir in the beans, ginger, garlic and chilli and stir fry for 2mins – add a little more water if things begin to stick. Finally add the watercress and soy and stir fry for a final 1 minute. Serve straight away with noodles.
Classic Watercress Soup
15ml/1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small stick celery
350g/12oz potato, peeled and diced
600ml/1pt chicken or vegetable stock
3 (85g) bags watercress
pinch of nutmeg
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and celery and sauté over a medium heat for 5 mins until pale golden. Stir in the potato and stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 mins or until the potato is tender.
Stir in the watercress, cover and cook for a further 5 mins or until the watercress is wilted. Transfer the soup to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed out pan add the milk, nutmeg, lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Gently reheat until piping hot and serve with crusty bread.
Cous Cous with Lemon and Watercress
225g/ 8oz couscous
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 x 85g bag watercress, roughly chopped
½ red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
150g/ 5oz cucumber, peeled, deseeded and chopped
crumbled feta cheese (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepperMethod
Boil a kettle of water. Place the couscous, lemon zest and juice, olive oil and plenty of seasoning in a large bowl, then add 300ml/ ½ pt boiling water. Stir well, then leave to soak for 10 mins or until the water has been absorbed by the couscous.
Stir in the remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve.