Watercress- Azari's and Iranians have what you might call an unusual but wonderful cultural habit (tradition???) they practice with their meals.
What you will find at the dinner table at most Persian and Azari homes is a basket/platter of herbs at every meal. We grab a handful of the mixed herbs and set them on the side of our plate and with almost every bite, we literally shove generous bunch of the herbs in our mouth either right before or after the main course bite.
This is not a substitute for salad, we have salad after we are done with our main course. Once you try this, you will be hooked, I promise!!! The herbs and greens along side radishes are a great way of aiding digestion, eating less of the high calorie meal and.....For Azari people watercress is sometimes one of those herbs (really not an herb but a member of the the family Brassicaceae).
Growing up in Tehran, the capital city and closer to the mountains than water, the first time I was exposed to watercress was at a trip to my brother-in-law's family villa by the Caspian Sea. At the edge of their property, there was a creek that ran into the sea and on the side of this creek and in between rocks were these gorgeous bunches of peppery greens that now I know were watercress. Papa whom had not seen watercress since he immigrated to Iran, was very excited to discover this abundance of watercress. The entire duration of our holiday there, we had fresh picks at our table with lunch and for dinner he loved having some with feta cheese, wrapped in lavash bread. YUM!!!
For some reason watercress is looking wonderful at the market these days, all the rain we've had this year, I suppose!?!? We offered the red watercress last week as a salad and hope you enjoyed it! I know I did :) But this week we have couple of different varieties so we will be using them in a soup and a salad.
Just to give you an idea of the nutritional benefits of this member of the brassica family, watercress contains more calcium than a glass of milk, more vitamin C than you’ll find in an orange, and more iron than spinach. Not only that, watercress is considered a superior organic source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C, of beta-carotene, magnesium, lutein and zeaxanthin. Also watercress is one of the only vegetables that contain high quantities of vitamin K. Just one cup of these greens will give you more than the minimum daily recommended amount of vitamin K. In fact, watercress contains more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals, and all the powerhouse benefits of Cruciferous veggies.
From everyone at Ezie and Emil... It's All about food