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Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday Recipe - Watercress

I had a major moment yesterday where I was convinced the day was Friday when it was Thursday. So, I spaced posting a recipe to my blog. I hope today makes up for it.

I remember driving up the canyons in the early spring, packed in my parents' white Ford van with my siblings. The trees were bare, the ground still covered with patches of snow. The tag end of winter lingered. But in the streams were patches of emerald green. My dad would pull over and send some brave soul out to pluck a few handfuls of the green plants. Crisp, cold, and slightly peppery, the leaves tasted of spring.

Watercress is available in grocery stores. Look for it in the produce section. It comes bundled with roots attached. Wrap it well in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. If it wilts, add a couple tablespoons of cold water to the roots and let it sit for an hour or two. Don't remove the leaves from the roots until just before you serve it.

Watercress tastes similar to radishes except not so sharp. If you've ever had nasturtium leaves, they taste very similar. (My dad loves to garden and experiment. I've grown and eaten vegetables that most people have never heard of. My mom had to figure out how to cook those oddities. I thank them both for giving me adventurous taste buds.)

To use watercress, pick the leaves from the roots, rinse well in cold water. Add it to salads or sandwiches, or just munch on it plain. Watercress is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants.

And it reminds me that winter really is ending and spring is almost here.

For more information, check out the wiki article.