May 14, 2020

SAUTÉED GARLICKY WATERCRESS WITH BACON

2 Comments

Watercress simply sautéed with garlic and topped off with crispy bacon crumbles is a delicious combination. With the health benefits of watercress and the indulgence of bacon, this simple side dish has the best of both worlds.

Sautéed Garlicky Watercress with Bacon
   Instagram    Yummy 

Did you know that watercress is a superfood? In fact, it tops the CDC’s list of the most nutrient-dense superfood. If you like the vegetable but were not aware of its nutritional value, now there is a reason to love and embrace it even more.

Watercress is in the cruciferous vegetable family and has over 15 essential vitamins and minerals. It is a vitamin K powerhouse and is packed with vitamins C & E as well as iron and calcium. In fact, it has more calcium than milk!



Among the lengthy list of benefits, watercress is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps fights against cancer and chronic diseases. (Did you get all this because there will be a quiz later, hee hee.)  

I had planned to share a watercress salad with you today, but after taking a quick look-see at the blog, I realized there is already a very similar one here

A change of plan was in order. These days, we all have to work with what is on hand. And I had garlic and bacon. From that, this simple side dish was born. I’m pleased with the simplicity and the fantastic flavor from just a few ingredients. 

You know what? It it would go so well with these:

Sautéed Garlicky Watercress with Bacon


How to keep this dish light?
For me, a little bit of bacon never hurts. It adds so much flavor and satisfaction. I brown and remove the bacon, keeping some of the fat in the skillet to sauté the garlic and watercress. If you want to keep the dish on the lighter side, completely drain the bacon fat and replace it with olive oil. Or in lieu of the oil, add a couple tablespoons water if the garlic starts to stick and brown too quickly.

Alternatively, you can swap out the bacon for turkey or vegetarian/vegan bacon substitute.


What does watercress taste like?
Watercress is slightly peppery, similar to arugula. It has tender leaves and crispy green stems. Both the leaves and stems are edible, although I personally like to trim off the thicker stalks.

Recipe highlights:
  • Trim larger stalks off watercress, optional.Wash and dry.
  • Brown bacon in a large skillet. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Crumble bacon when cooled. Set aside.
  • Drain fat from skillet leaving at least 1 tablespoon in pan.
  • On medium heat, add garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Reduce heat if needed to prevent burning.
Chopped garlic cooking in a skillet

  • Add watercress. 
  • Add sugar and salt.
Watercress cooking in a skillet

  • Stir and scrape garlic off the bottom as watercress cooks. 
  • Add bacon after most of the watercress has cooked down. 

Watercress and bacon cooking in a skillet

  • Cook until watercress is limp but still vibrant green.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • See recipe card for detailed instructions.

How to prep watercress?
Soak in a large bowl of water, drain, and dry before use. Remove yellow or discolored leaves. Trim the bigger, tougher stalks (optional).


Can baby watercress be used?
Mature watercress has more of a full-bodied bite. I prefer them for sautéeing, although baby watercress can be used. Because it is more delicate and tender, it will require less cook time.

Sautéed Garlicky Watercress with Bacon

Just like spinach, watercress cooks down substantially. Two bunches (or about 12 ounces) used in this recipe looks like a lot uncooked. Once cooked, it reduces to about 2 1/2 cups, which serves 4. If you need more, not to worry. This dish could easily be multiplied.

Since getting our vitamins and minerals is more important now than ever, watercress is optimal for getting the most out of one vegetable. I have been incorporating it more into my my family’s diet. Even the picky eater in my house will eat raw watercress when it is served with his favorite Vietnamese dishes. Yay!!

More side dish ideas you'll want to try!


Subscribe To In Good Flavor

Receive New Posts In Your Inbox. It's Easy!


SAUTÉED GARLICKY  WATERCRESS WITH BACON 

Sautéed Garlicky Watercress with Bacon


INGREDIENTS:

2 bunches (12 ounces) watercress
4 bacon strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of black pepper


INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Trim the large, tough stalks on watercress (optional). Remove discolored leaves.
  2. Place watercress in a large bowl filled with water. Wash, drain and dry. Set aside.
  3. Place bacon strips in a single layer in a large cold skillet. Turn heat to medium.
  4. Turn bacon over when bottom side is brown. Cook until the second side is brown. Turn over once or twice, if needed for even browning on both sides (8-12 minutes total cook time).
  5. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  6. Crumble or cut into small chunks. Set aside.
  7. Drain fat from skillet leaving at least 1 tablespoon in pan.
  8. On medium heat, add garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Reduce heat if needed to prevent burning.
  9. Add watercress. 
  10. Stir and scrape garlic off the bottom as watercress cooks. 
  11. Add sugar and salt.
  12. Add bacon after most of the watercress has cooked down. 
  13. Cook until watercress is limp but still vibrant green (about 2 minutes total cook time).
  14. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Makes 4 servings.




Recipe Notes:
  1. Watercress stalks are completely edible. Trimming tougher stalk is optional.
  2. Starting the bacon in a cold pan helps to render the fat and prevents sticking.
  3. This recipe is best with mature watercress, but if using baby watercress, reduce cook time.

Sources:


Great finds for the home and family! Any commission made on purchases help towards the running of this blog.
Disclosure: This site contains paid advertising and affiliate links. In Good Flavor is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

2 comments:

  1. I never knew you could cook watercress. My mother used to make something like this except with spinach. It was one of the things that could convince us kids to eat our veggies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your mom’s secret weapon, bacon! It makes everything taste better :)
      Watercress is excellent cooked. My mom used to make watercress soup when we were kids. I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I do now.

      Delete