The anti-aging super-green you should be eating more of
We all know super-greens are a super important part of a healthy, balanced diet, but there’s one super-green you may not be eating enough of (and you definitely should be!)…
Watercress is a tender leaf super-green with a peppery zing — perfect for adding a punch of flavor to your favorite dish! While it may sound new to you, it’s actually one of the oldest leafy greens in history, gaining most of its popularity in Europe.
Not only is watercress loaded with Vitamin C, calcium, and iron, but it also increases the production of collagen (hello, anti-aging regimen!), is good for joint health, and helps to lower blood pressure.
Co-Chefs Connie Desousa and John Jackson, owners of several destination restaurants including Charcut in Calgary, can’t stop raving about the incredible flavor profile and versatility of this under-used super-food.
“A lot of people don't know that watercress is actually a member of the Cruciferae family,” said Chef Connie Desousa. “You can relate it to other lettuces like arugula and kale, and even broccoli and Brussels sprouts. In terms of flavor, that’s a similar flavor profile.”
Chef John Jackson added that watercress is the perfect addition to meals now that spring is in the air.
“Coming into spring and with the seasonal change, we’re looking for lighter vegetables,” he noted.
Both Chef Connie and Chef John are big fans of Inspired Leaves’ new Power-Up Cress, which comes washed and ready-to-eat and is grown sustainably with zero pesticides and packaged with a 30-percent less plastic re-sealable top-seal clam.
They recommend sautéing the Power Up Cress with a little garlic and lemon, or pureeing it into a pesto with basil, cheese and olive oil. You can even sprinkle it on top of grilled steak to brighten up a richer dish, puree it into a soup, or use it in dips, sandwiches and salads.
“There’s so many applications,” said Chef John. “A lot of greens just add texture where watercress has a really good strong flavor. Connie and I think it’s going to be the next big green. It not only has the nutritional value, but a great flavor profile.”
Not sure where to start? No worries, Chef John and Chef Connie are here to help guide you in the right direction. Try this recipe below to introduce more watercress into your weekly meal rotation.
Inspired Greens Watercress Recipe
By Connie DeSousa & John Jackson
Watercress Salad with Soft Cooked Egg, Toasted Olive Oil Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Lemon Vinegar
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe Introduction: When Inspired Greens shared with us this delicious, vibrant green that was packed full of vitamins and health benefits. We knew it would start to make appearances on our menus shortly after that.
Dish to be presented on large platter family style for entertaining
¼ cup White wine vinegar
1 each Lemon
1 each Bay leaf
½ cup Olive oil
To taste Salt & Pepper
4 each Eggs (large)
1 tbsp. White wine vinegar
1 cup Breadcrumbs
1 cup Olive oil
To taste Salt & Pepper
4 cups Watercress washed and spun dry
2-inch wedge Parmesan cheese
Method for the Dressing:
- Remove the rind from the lemon with a vegetable peeler in ribbons. In a small pot, bring to a simmer, the vinegar, lemon rind and bay leaf. Remove from heat and strain out the rind and bay leaf. Cool the vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil and salt & pepper to taste.
Note: The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Method for the Salad:
- To poach the eggs, fill a medium saucepot with 1L of warm water and 1 Tbsp. of white wine vinegar. Bring to a low simmer. Crack the eggs into 4 small bowls. Stir the water while dropping in each egg individually. Ensure that the water is kept at a low simmer so as not to break the eggs. Cook eggs for 4 minutes and carefully remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan heat the olive oil over medium heat until it starts to “dance” in the pan. Add the breadcrumbs and stir them frequently until they turn golden brown. Season with salt & pepper and cool them on a cookie sheet.
- Tear the watercress into bite sized pieces or if small and tender enough leave whole and place in a large bowl.
- Whisk the dressing to emulsify it and pour enough dressing over the escarole to lightly coat the greens. Toss the greens and season with salt & pepper.
- Arrange the watercress on a large platter. Arrange the poached eggs on top of the escarole
- Add the toasted breadcrumbs on top of salad and eggs
- With a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan on top and serve