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Ingredient

Watercress

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What is it?

True to its name, watercress grows in water. wild watercress finds a home in shallow streams, springs, lakes, and ponds, with leaves floating  on the water’s surface, anchored to the  bottom by a thin root system. cultivated watercress—the kind you’re most likely to see in the store—takes root in a hydroponic greenhouse system and is very similar in taste and appearance to its wild cousin; the two can be used interchangeably. And if you happen to spot red watercress—a regional wild variety that’s now cultivated—that’s interchangeable, too.

How to choose:

In the grocery store, you’ll find watercress in bags or bunches. look for bright green leaves and no signs of yellowing or slimy wet spots. The stems can be thick and wiry (more so with wild watercress).

How to prep:

If serving it raw, trim off any that are too tough for your liking. The stems will become more tender with cooking, but they can still be a bit leggy, so are best served with a knife and fork.

How to store:

Watercress is highly perishable, and you should plan to use it within two days. Fortunately, FineCooking.com has a number of recipes utilizing watercress, so you’ll have plenty of ways to eat it in a hurry.

    Recipes

  • Recipe

    Pork Chops with Watercress Mashed Potatoes

    The briny bite of the green peppercorns is essential to this sauce and pairs wonderfully with the rich flavors and textures of the dish. If you don’t have them on…

  • Recipe

    Pan-Seared Sea Scallop Salad with Grapefruit and Fennel

    Scallops add welcome richness to a brightly flavored main-course salad.

  • Recipe

    Ume-Scallion Dressing

    This bright green sauce gets intense flavor from peppery watercress and briny umeboshi vinegar. Try drizzling it on a cold soup, like the Classic Vichyssoise shown here, or toss with…

  • Recipe

    Thai Watercress and Steak Salad

    A bright, tangy, fruity Thai dressing enhances the peppery bite of raw watercress. If you happen to have some leftover grilled steak, feel free to substitute it here.

  • Recipe

    Warm Potato and Watercress Salad

    Tender roasted fingerling potatoes pair harmoniously with wilted watercress in this simple salad. Be sure to toss the watercress and vinaigrette with the potatoes as soon as they come out…

  • Recipe

    Chicken, Shiitake, and Watercress Stir-Fry

    This stir-fry gets deep complexity from Chinese fermented chile-bean sauce, also called toban djan, which can be found in the Asian section of well-stocked supermarkets. The dish comes together in…

  • Recipe

    Spicy Udon Noodles with Wilted Watercress

    Watercress curls and twirls along with the noodles in this full-flavored dish. The cooling cucumbers balance the hot sambal oelek in the sauce for a pleasant tingle.

  • Recipe

    Spring Tonic

    Watercress’s bracing vibrancy makes it an invigorating addition to green juice, especially when paired with a tart apple. A sweeter apple will make a more mellow juice. If you don’t…

  • Recipe

    Green Cabbage-Apple-Fennel Salad

    This monochromatic salad is stunning in its simplicity. The crisp texture and lemony punch make it a perfect partner for braised meats or grilled pork. Use a mandoline to shave…

  • Recipe

    Pear and Watercress Salad with Cashews and Honey-Ginger Vinaigrette

    Toasted sesame oil and soy sauce add a subtle Asian note to the dressing in this autumn salad.

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