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Root Source: Watercress

Root Source: Watercress

 

what you should know


Though watercress is best known for its role adjacent cucumber in tea sandwiches, we love to pair its peppery bite with richer, creamier ingredients.

 

Close your eyes and imagine a plate of pan-roasted duck and puréed potatoes. Looks pretty good, right? Okay, now imagine a frazzled bouquet of lightly dressed watercress alongside. Even better.

 

aqua vitae Even better-better? With few calories and high levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene and other minerals, watercress is an indisputable superfood.

 

who you callin' garnish? One of the oldest known edible greens, watercress is a popular garnish in Europe. In Great Britain, a recent PR campaign reminded consumers -- with the help of a nude model -- that watercress is "Not Just a Bit on the Side."

 

tang tamer Raw watercress adds a snap and tang to salads and soups. For a gentler taste of cress, try it in a sauté, pasta or stir-fry.

 

G8 With beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, parsley, spinach and tomatoes, watercress is the eighth ingredient in the classic vegetable drink, V-8.

what you need

A little too large to shake out like an herb, watercress dries quickly in a salad spinner.

If you're unfamiliar with our official position on tongs, first read our PSA, then buy these.

Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook has a whole section on the cresses.

Steak Sandwich with Watercress and Roasted Red Peppers

what you do

Sometimes (at teas, say), a classic watercress and tea sandwich is just the right bite. For a more stylish tea, try Lauren's open-faced tea sandwiches.

This steak sandwich with watercress, fontina, and roasted red peppers perfectly melds together contrasting flavors and textures.

In the same vein as Barbara Kafka's refreshing parsley soup, this watercress bisque is a bright, creamy summer soup that can be served hot or cold.

As a salad base, watercress lends more character than a traditional lettuce, especially in sweet-and-sour mixes such as hogwash's cress and fruit salad with grapefruit-verjus vinaigrette.

Featured recipe: For a different take on the classic tea sandwich, try the watercress sandwich with chili and lime butter from A Veggie Venture. It's the featured recipe for this week's Root Source Challenge.

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