Healthy Seasonal Recipes – Wonderful Watercress

Healthy Seasonal Recipes – Wonderful Watercress

Watercress is in season now and has many health benefits as well as its distinctive peppery taste and crunchy texture. Low in calories but high in fibre, nutrients and antioxidants it is useful for weight management. Watercress is good for the heart- it is rich in nitrates that regulate blood pressure. It also has a role in slowing skin ageing as it contains Isothiocyanates which support collagen and elastin to keep skin supple and reduce the risk of cellulite and wrinkles. It is rich in Vitamin A and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are all protective of eye health. It is a good vegetable source of iron and as it also contains good levels of Vitamin C the iron in watercress is absorbed easily.

Watercress is supportive of bones in that it combines calcium and high levels of Vitamin K. There is also evidence that eating it before activity can aid recovery after sport and mitigate against exercise induced DNA damage.

There are many ways to enjoy watercress. You can use it as the base of a salad, you can add it to smoothies, soups, stir-fries or omelettes. Watercress sauce complements grilled fish and meat dishes and a simple watercress dip makes a great accompaniment to crudités.


Watercress and Garlic Dip with King Prawns (Serves 4)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Shallot chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

1 potato peeled and chopped

100ml dry white wine

Pinch of chilli flakes

170g watercress

Squeeze of lemon juice

60ml half fat crème fraiche

Tiger prawns

Wedges of lemon to serve


Method

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shallot and saute over a gentle heat for 5 mins. Add the garlic, potato, wine and chilli. Cover and simmer for 10 mins or until the potatoes are tender. Add the watercress and cook for 4 minutes until the leaves have wilted. Leave to cool. Add the crème fraiche, transfer to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste. Serve with the cooked tiger prawns and lemon wedges It can also be nice with barbecued meat or fish or as a cold dip with pitta bread.

Pesto Prawns (Serves 2)

Ingredients

Pesto

2 tbsp mixed seeds (ground up) – use sunflower, linseed and pumpkin

3 tbsp olive oil

A small handful of watercress

2 tsp lemon juice

Ground black pepper to taste

8 large raw tiger prawns


Method

For the pesto combine all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until you have a thick paste. If the mixture is too thick then you can add a little more oil.Put the pesto in a shallow dish and add the raw prawns to marinate for an hour at least. Soak two wooden skewers in water and use to skewer the prawns.Cook under a medium hot grill or in a grill pan for a couple of minutes on each side until they turn pink. They can be eaten hot or cold but must be eaten within 1 day of cooking.

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