Welcoming in Spring with ‘Wild’ Watercress

watercress

I

got to do a little foraging in the woods this morning, not at the farm, but elsewhere.  I wanted to look for wild asparagus and check on how far along the ramps were.  Ramps are a member of the Allium family with leeks and onions, and are quite mild and nice to eat.  I found the ramps, but they were far to young to dig up, the leaves only 2 to 6 inches long, and I didn’t find any asparagus.

rorippa-nasturtium-aquaticum-10

However, I did score some watercress.  Nasturtium officinale is the same plant as you may find in a grocery store, and as it is a member of the nasturtium family has a delightfully spicy, peppery taste.  A friend who is a biologist, pointed out the patch that I got into this morning a few years ago to me, and I re-checked with the internet today, to make double sure it was watercress.  Here is a picture of it growing –>

I intend to go back in a few weeks in hopes of digging some ramps and making something with them, as I have done so before and found them tasty!

I spent quite a bit of time cleaning it and looked up a recipe on my favorite recipe site, epicurious.com.  I thought this one was delicious:

Watercress and Avocado Salad  (via Epicurious.com)

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1 tablespoon grated sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla (use large holes of a box grater)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated peeled Gala apple (use small holes of box grater)
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cups watercress (thin stems and leaves only; from 1 large bunch)
  • 1 firm-ripe avocado

Preparation:

Stir together vinegar, onion, apple, soy sauce, and sugar until sugar has dissolved, then stir in oil.

Just before serving, toss watercress with enough dressing to coat. Quarter, pit, and peel avocado, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Gently toss with watercress.

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