It might not look like much, but watercress is one of those surprising ingredients that has the capability to take a dish to a whole new level. With its sharp peppery taste, drawn from its mustard oil content, this seasonal vegetable can be found in a range of classic British dishes. And not just in a salad, although tossed in an oil and herb dressing is a fabulous way to enjoy it.
Eating watercress raw means you get to reap the most of its health benefits. Due to its antioxidant properties together with the presence of magnesium and calcium, eating watercress in high doses gives strong bones and teeth along with protection from lung and mouth cancers.
Juicing watercress is an easy way to get in one of your five a day. It blends well with carrot, potato, spinach and turnip leaves. Chuck in some parsley too for synergistic healing power. If you fancy something sweeter try it with apple.
Types of Watercress
The main type of Watercress, known as Nasturtium officinale, can be readily found at most markets. Two lesser known of its cousins are Garden Cress and Upland Cress. These two vary slightly and can be used as substitutes in many watercress recipes. They are however not to be confused with Cress.
Upland Cress – Listed on the Speciality Produce website, this type of cress is both delicate and petitely shaped. Its leaves and stems tend to be more tender than the more commonly sold watercress.
Garden Cress – sharing its peppery, tangy flavor and aroma with watercress, Garden Cress has a similar taste according to Live Gourmet to horseradish.
Our Favourite Watercress Recipes
Below are four of the Cooks & Partners favourite recipes that feature watercress. If you don’t fancy making your own, pop into one of our fixed site cafes and see what culinary delights our team have put together using Watercress this month.
1. Chilled Radish, Watercress & Tahini Yogurt Soup
2. Smoked Salmon Carpaccio with Watercress, Rainbow Beetroot and Horseradish Cream
3. Watercress and avocado salad with pink grapefruit and Campari vinaigrette
4. Summer pea and watercress soup
Top Tip: When buying watercress, select the brightest green leaves, which should show no signs of wilting or yellowing. The stems should be moist.