Watercress season is in full swing here in the UK and I can’t get enough of it! I love its peppery taste and its crispy crunch, it’s a brilliant ingredient and a wonderful backdrop for so many dishes – it works particularly well with these marinated mushrooms topped with cumin croutons.
Watercress is one of those things which has been around for ever – it’s been cultivated since Roman times – but took a back seat to some of those fancy new fangled salad leaves for a while. It was very dignified about this, watching quietly while we all got over excited, tapping its fingers on the table, biding its time until we remembered just how versatile and delicious it is.
My Granny grew watercress in the little spring at the bottom of her garden on the Isle of Man and I used to go out to pick it for lunch, nibbling at it like a little rabbit on my way back to the kitchen. Whenever I eat it now I’m transported back to those wonderful lazy summers – isn’t it fabulous how tastes and smells can do that?
Watercress not only tastes ace, it is also packed full of stuff to make us feel fab with more Vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin E than broccoli and more calcium than whole milk , what a powerhouse! You can pop it into smoothies for a peppery pick me up, make it into the most delicious soup. stick it in a sandwich, add it to your favourite falafel recipe, stir it through risotto, make it into pesto or just serve it in all its leafy glory as a salad. Pile it into a bowl and top it with my marinated mushrooms and cumin croutons and you won’t be disappointed!
A delicious watercress salad with marianted mushrooms and cumin croutons
- 150 g baby chestnut mushrooms
- 50 g shimeji mushrooms
- 25 g enoki mushrooms
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic , peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- Black pepper
- 1 slice day old sourdough bread
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
- Bunch of watercress
- Chopped red chilli
Preheat the oven to 180C
Wipe the chestnut and shimeji mushrooms.
Heat the olive oil gently in a frying pan.
Add the whole baby chestnut mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes until just cooked, add the shimeji and cook for a further 4 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before adding the cider vinegar, chopped parsley and a generous grind of black pepper.
Remove from the heat.
Cut the sourdough into cubes and toss with the olive oil and cumin seeds, spread evenly on a baking sheet.
Roast in the preheated oven for 10 -15 minutes until crisp and brown.
Cook the enoki mushrooms in a dry frying pan for 1 - 2 minutes until just browned.
Line a bowl with the watercress, top with the marinated mushrooms, cumin croutons and enoki mushrooms.
Sprinkle with chopped chilli and serve.
Those cumin croutons also taste great on top of broccoli soup (goodness that’s a very old post, I must update it!), beetroot soup, celeriac coup, mushroom soup, most soups really! I also love the crunch of a crouton in a salad and they complement the juiciness of these marinated mushrooms beautifully, soaking up juices perfectly. Very satisfying! Here’s a nice big close up for you to drool over a bit.
If you haven’t got any mushrooms in the house, you’ve just run out of watercress or your cumin seeds are old and dusty and need replacing why not pin this recipe for later when you have all the ingredients to hand and you’re ready to go?!