Tea Sandwiches to Soup: Ideas for Using Watercress

I don't like being stumped when faced with an ingredient. But when watercress came up during a conversation with a fellow shopper this weekend, I drew a complete blank. Tea sandwiches and....? Lady at the grocery store, these ideas are, belatedly, for you.

This rather unassuming green has a surprisingly intense and assertive peppery flavor. If you like arugula, you'll probably like watercress. The stems and leaves are very tender and can be eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, pesto, and cold soups like gazpacho. Although you lose the crisp texture during cooking, watercress also makes a fantastic addition to things like stir-fries, hot soups, and healthy casseroles.

Here are some recipes to kick-start your cooking - and mine!

Pumpernickel, Watercress, and Mushroom Bread Salad from The Kitchn
Watercress and Cabbage Stir-fry from The Kitchn
Steamed Watercress, Spinach, Peas from The Kitchn
Avocado and Watercress Salad from Gourmet
Watercress-Cauliflower Soup from Martha Stewart
Goat Cheese and Watercress Tea Sandwiches from Epicurious
Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Pancetta, and Wilted Watercress from Eating Well

After finding these recipes, I'm tempted to head back to the store to pick up some watercress of my own for dinner tonight.

Do you have a favorite way of using watercress?

Related: Never Underestimate a Simple Arugula Salad

(Images: Martha Stewart and Ditte Isager/Gourmet)