If you frequent Korean or international markets you might notice beautiful bunches of Korean watercress stacked along a bin section in various seasons throughout the year. Lightly spraying water mists on the produce shoot from above enable small droplets to form giving the appearance of a fresh green bouquet.
Korean Watercress is so pretty in its peak fresh state that it is tempting to stack a bunch into a vase.
But alas, this bitter green preparation requires a quick forty-five-second blanch in salted boiling water for its preparation. And then to maintain its bright dark green color once drained, it is immediately then either shocked in ice water or gently rinsed in very cold water.
If you are lucky, sometimes this seasoned Korean Watercress is served as part of the small side dish banchan at Korean restaurants. The first time I ever had it I thought it was seaweed, but the vegetable has its own distinct taste, a clean, fresh flavor. The vegetable would be considered a bitter green but I would not describe it as being too bitter following the blanching process.
Korean Watercress is often dressed with a bit of sesame oil then topped with a touch of sesame seeds, perhaps some red pepper flakes. It can also be enjoyed mixing a bit of sugar with soy sauce until dissolved then blending the combination with sesame oil before dressing.
Easy to prepare in less than ten minutes, Korean Watercress provides an excellent and unique vegetable variation to add to the seasonal repertoire. If you end up thinking its as pretty as I do, just remember to take it out of the vase in its best peak of freshness and cook it.
- 1 bunch Korean Watercress (around one pound)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil, more or less to taste
- couple small pinches sesame seeds
- light sprinkle of Korean red pepper flakes
- For added flavor: 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and 2 teaspoons sugar
- Wash watercress in cold water
- Cut off the bottom few inches of stem leaving the rest intact
- Boil water. Add a pinch of salt
- Drop watercress into salted boiling water for forty-five seconds
- Drain immediately and transfer to an ice water bath or gently run very cold water over vegetable until cooled and cooking has stopped
- Lightly dry watercress, use scissors to snip the long pieces into bite sized
- Toss with the sesame oil, adding a bit more to taste if desired
- Set onto platter and top with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes
- For a little added flavor combine the soy sauce with the sugar and stir to dissolve, add in the sesame oil then dress the greens before continuing to top with the sesame seeds and red pepper flakes