Tuesday, May 15, 2007

C is for Cress - Watercress Pesto Sauce


We left our comfort zone of salad cress (the girl next door of vegetables)and decided to try out Watercress. Watercress Pesto is a straightforward pesto recipe where you simply replace the basil. Both Alex and Freddie were "starving hungry" (their words), so they attacked their meal like wolves. But three minutes in and they both stopped, looked up and asked for water. "This is too spicy," said Alex."This isn't going to get a very high score", warned Freddie. Making sauces with green vegetables has been a success in the past, particularly with Brocolli Pesto. But watercress tasted too peppery for them. I loved it but Freddie gave it a score of six out of ten, tarnishing the so far unblemished record of cress in the Great Big Veg Challenge. If any of you have any suggestions to make this milder please let me know...
Watercress Pesto Sauce
A bunch of watercress, thicker stalks removed
Half a clove of garlic, crushed
1 level tablespoon pine nuts
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
25 g grated Parmesan or Parmegiano cheese
Pinch of salt
Using a food processor or hand blender, puree the watercress,pinenuts, garlic and drizzle in the olive oil little by little. Then stir in the finely grated cheese. Add a pinch of salt to taste.

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  1. LOVE the warnings, "This isn't going to get a very good score". So much for 'hunger is the the best sauce' (from my English grandfather).

    As you may know, you can make pesto from anything, really. But you might moderate the 'spike' of the cress by using part cress, part spinach, for example.

  2. Great Big Veg Challenge1:15 PM

    Thats a good thought - because it is a shame. It was almost a success...might try a salad cress pesto for fun.

  3. Aaah! Is this not cheating? I've LOADS of watercress recipes as I love the stuff! Only kidding by the way. I add walnuts to my watercress pesto, delicious. Glad you have been creative with cress, whats next?


  4. Great Big Veg Challenge6:36 AM

    Next is a challenge - its D.

  5. Anonymous2:04 PM

    My son (now 8) loves watercress soup - the usual basis: fry some onion and garlic in oil, add water n stock cube/granuals or stock and a chopped potato or two, add the watercress when the potato is soft and blitz once the watercress is sufficiently wilted - I guess the potato takes away some of the pepperiness of the cress. Potato might seem like an odd companion for pasta, but it does feature in an official Italian dish called pizzocheri, and I have put leftover pasta or rice in the soup before now with no adverse reaction.
    As for D, I came across a recipe for 'dead vegetable soup' at http://www.aubergines.org/recipes.php?eggplant=375 which pretty much covers everything!

  6. My initial thought would be to switch from a pesto to a creamy watercress sauce, that should cool the spiciness somewhat- coat pasta in the sauce and serve topped with flaked poached salmon.

    Well... it worked in the sandwich I had for lunch yesterday, anyway!


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