So, I don’t have cable TV… because if I did, I would be in the kitchen every 5 minutes making whatever they’re doing on the Food Network. You see, I am highly food-suggestible, and if I see something I want to try I have to have it NOW and can’t think about anything else until I get it.
Such was the case when I saw the ever-charming Laura Calder doing her relaxed and inspiring thing on French Food at Home. She was pulling together a watercress salad with a gingery bite, a savoury bread pudding with tomato jam (already on the To Make list), and some meat-y things.
The watercress salad needed to make its way into my mouth, stat. I tried to pull it together for a dinner party last weekend but too many other good things got in my way… so I made it to go alongside the super-rich Gruyère Cheese & Tarragon Soufflé. And ohhh was it lovely. The ginger and the slightly-hot aleppo pepper gave it just enough kick to balance out the soufflé.
What is this mysterious Aleppo pepper, you may ask? Well, it’s a new-to-me Middle Eastern/Mediterranean crushed pepper. Just like I normally use red chili flakes, Aleppo pepper is used on the other side of the world as a spice. I’ve been tossing it in everything lately just to try it out, (and it works really well in hummus too!), and it’s just such a pretty bright red zip! If you’re in Toronto, I found it in one of the basement shops of the St. Lawrence Market’s South Market.
This is an easy go-to-greens-treatment that I’ll definitely be making on weeknights for a quick meal. I think you could add some roasted chickpeas rather successfully, kind of like my Swiss Chard & Roasted Chickpeas. I will be experimenting next with this treatment on some kale or chard… let me know if you give it a shot! And enjoy!
Warm Gingery Watercress Salad
Adapted from Laura Calder’s Gingered Watercress, Serves 2
- 1 big bunch of watercress, rinsed & dried
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2″ nub of fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tomatoes or 2 handfuls of grape tomatoes, diced
- 1 big pinch of seasoned pepper (a store-bought blend of black pepper, parsley, basil, onion & garlic), or salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. crushed dried aleppo pepper or dried red chili flakes
In a large pan, heat the oil then add the garlic and ginger and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato, and cook 5 minutes more, until everything is smooshy.
Chop the cress in half so it is easier to eat, and add to the pan. Cook until tender and slightly wilted, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with seasoned pepper or salt & pepper and aleppo pepper or dried red chili flakes.
Serve warm and enjoy!