Cooking With Watercress
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!
Why Make Marinated Mushrooms?
- Marinated mushrooms add fabulous texture and flavour to salads.
- They are really easy to make in advance and benefit from sitting in their marinade for a few hours or overnight.
- They taste great all year round. Make them as a side dish for your summer barbecue, pop them in your picnic hamper in autumn and serve them up as a fabulous side dish on your Christmas table!
I’m always astonished at the price supermarkets charge for little packets of croutons when they are so cheap and easy to make at home.
All you need is a slice of day old bread, some olive oil and flavourings of your choice. Cut the bread into cubes, toss them in oil and seasonings and bake them for 10 – 15 minutes – simple! Once you’ve started making your own croutons you won’t be buying them in a packet ever again!
I 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!
If you are a fan of a crouton popped on top of a bowl of steaming soup these cumin flavoured croutons go particularly well with:
If you make my recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Please leave a comment and a star rating below and share your pictures with me on social media. Tag me @thinlyspread and include the hashtag #thinlyspread so I can see them!
Marinated Mushroom Salad with Cumin Croutons and Watercress
- 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
- 80 g Bunch of watercress
- 1 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 and leave to cool.
- 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 cooled marinated mushrooms, cumin croutons and enoki mushrooms.
- Sprinkle with chopped chilli and serve.