This is a sponsored post by B&W Quality Growers. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands I love that make this website possible.
Wow! Can you believe it’s already May? Spring is about half way over and the year is just flying by. My month of April was a great one. We celebrated Easter with the family and spent Dia del Niño, (Kids Day), out and about antiquing and children’s books searching for my 8-year-old son. My biggest April highlight was flying to New York City, spending an evening with B&W Quality Growers and enjoying a six-course watercress meal by Chef Ming Tsai. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I love spending time with them but really, very few people get to say they spent an evening with a room-full famous chefs and restaurant owners as a Watercress Ambassador in New York City. Not to mention have an amazing meal prepared for them by a James Beard award winning chef.
Chef Ming Tsai is not only a James Beard Award winning chef. He’s also an author, TV Host, producer, product developer, food allergy advocate and East/West lifestyle expert. As if that isn’t enough, he also hosts Simply Ming, an Emmy-nominated public televisions series, now on its 16th season.
The event took place at Chef’s Club. A chic restaurant located North of Little Italy, Lower East Side in New York City. Super star chefs from around the globe are invited to prepare multiple course meals for guests or restaurant patrons. The concept is amazing and I am so fortunate to have experienced something as unique as this as a Watercress Ambassador.
Between courses, we had the opportunity to learn a bit more about B&W Quality Growers and just how special watercress is. Mark Deleo, B&W’s Chief Executive Officer, Todd Gosule, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing and Chef Tsai gave us a quick course on the history of B&W and the benefits or this baby green gem called watercress.
B&W Quality Growers is the world’s largest grower of watercress. The not only grow, but pack, ship, and market premium quality watercress to retail, wholesale, foodservice, and specialty customers across North America and Europe. With over 145 years experience, B&W Quality Growers maintains sophisticated pre and post harvest protocols, comprehensive food safety systems and state of the art equipment tailored to meet the unique requirements of these precious specialty leaves.
The nutritional benefits of watercress are endless. It is one of the most nutrient dense of all foods, as measured by the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, which means that one of the most flavorful greens you can eat delivers a potent potion of health benefits. Additionally, watercress is a naturally low calorie, fat free, cholesterol free, and very low sodium food.
Watercress is a good source of vitamin A, an essential vitamin necessary for normal vision, skin health, and maintaining immune function. It is high in the antioxidant vitamin C, which protects the body against free radicals. Vitamin C also supports the normal function of blood vessels, healing of wounds, iron absorption, and neurological function. Watercress is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, which forms and strengthens the bones and limits neuronal damage in the brain.
Watercress is a cruciferous vegetable, which are generally known as cancer-fighters due to their high levels of phytochemicals known as isothiocyanates. Though this family of vegetables can help stop the spread of cancer cells, studies have shown that watercress specifically is associated with a reduced risked of several cancers.
If that doesn’t convince you that watercress is THE green to be on your menu, then what about this… watercress tastes great! Its peppery taste gives dishes like salads, soups, omelettes, juices, sauces and pestos a wonderful flavor. The younger the bunch, the milder the taste.
Stay tuned, because as a watercress ambassador, I will be showing you different ways to incorporate watercress into your every day meals. Plus, I will share helpful tips on how to preserve this highly perishable green in your kitchen.
Chef Ming Tsai outdid himself and prepared an outstanding menu. One of my favorites was his creamless watercress soup with honey apple salsa. The flavor balance is wonderful and love that this recipe is easy and calls for simple ingredients readily available at any grocery store or in your pantry.
Thank you, B&W Quality Growers for the wonderful experience. I cannot wait to get my hands on bunches and bunches of watercress and create my own recipes to share.
- 2 large onions, cut into ½-inch dice
- 8 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
- 2 pounds watercress, 1 inch cut on stems, separated from leaves
- 1 stick (1/4 pound butter) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 favorite local apple, peeled, 1/4 inch dice
- 1 teaspoon local honey
- Juice of one lime
- Grapeseed oil to cook
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Sauté onions and garlic in grapeseed oil until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and season really well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil. Once liquid is boiling, add watercress stems and allow to soften, 3-4 minutes. Then add leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Puree soup in a blender in batches, adding butter slowly with blender running. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and check for flavor.
- Meanwhile, mix apples, honey and juice of lime, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Warm soup bowls in hot water. Plate hot soup with scattered salsa, enjoy.