Watercress is one of those things you couldn’t even force-feed us when we were kids. I still remember there used to be a small fella in the village further up the road from where I grew up, who would go door to door every Sunday morning selling the produce from the garden he made with his grandmother. Picked fresh that morning, you’d get cucumbers, lettuce and watercress. Small man knew that along with our BIG meal (Sunday lunch), just about everyone had a wonderful side salad. People in our village depended on him for their salad ingredients, since he was convenient and his produce was always tops!
Watercress is one of those “salad greens” that’s enjoyed throughout the islands and though this recipe is a bit more complex than the basic way we would normally have it, I just had to share this with you. The watercress gives it a nice peppery flavour and it’s well balanced with the sweet/tart mango.
1 bunch watercress
1/4 ripe mango (half ripe works best…make sure it’s still firm)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 small red onion
1/4 small red bell pepper
2-3 tablespoon cilantro chopped
* You can use shado beni if you have that instead of the cilantro, just use less as it’s a bit stronger in flavour.
* I didn’t use a dressing for this since I wanted to keep it diet friendly, but you can top with your favourite pre-made dressing. A simple oil and vinegar dressing would work great as well.
Start by rinsing the watercress under water, drain and trim off the stems. All you’re doing is removing the thick stems as they can be woody and really bitter (the tender parts can be included).
BTW, discard the stems. Then the next step is to slice the red onion (thinly), julienne the red pepper and do the same for the mango. With the mango you’ll have to peel off the skin with a sharp knife or potato peeler, then cut off a face (if you’d like me to explain this, leave me a comment below) and then julienne. Then rough chop the cilantro. Add everything to a large bowl and toss.
I don’t usually add salt or pepper to my salads and I do enjoy them with NO dressing. I hate covering the true taste of the ingredients I use in my salad. however you’re free to add whatever you want at this point.. even some sliced almonds if you wish.
Please leave me your comments below. If you’d like a quick vinaigrette to go with this, leave me a comment and I’ll share one with you.
1. When buying watercress look for a bundle that’s not dark green. The darker the leaves, the stronger the taste will be and it can be bitter at times. Look for leaves that are not bruised or yellowish. That’s a true sign that it’s either old or going bad. Watercress should be sitting (stems) in water in your grocery store or packed among shaved ice.
2. This salad can remain in your fridge for a few days as long as you put it in a sealed container. If you plan on putting it in the fridge, don’t add salt or dressing until you’re ready to serve. If you store with dressing and salt it will become soggy and break down the freshness of the salad.