Watercress may be the most widespread green grown in England, and centuries ago appeared as the star of salads. Until only recently, however, its role has devolved into little more than garnish. That is too bad. Watercress is a hardy and tasty green that provides a complimentary contrast to duck, quail and other feathered game. The peppery taste of watercress pairs particularly well with citrus. This salad is a simple classic that will be welcome with just about anything during the summer and early fall. About four servings.
-about 4 cups watercress, trimmed of any woody stems
-1 15 oz can mandarin orange sections, tenderly drained to keep them intact
-about 3 Tablespoons chopped scallion greens
-salt and pepper
-orange vinaigrette (see the notes)
Toss the cress, orange sections and scallions together gently, season the slad with salt and pepper and dress it with as much or little orange vinaigrette as you like.
- To make orange vinaigrette, just whisk together equal amounts of lemon and orange juice, then combine it with some decent olive oil in the proportion you prefer. Traditional vinaigrettes go heavy on the oil, in a ratio of at least 2:1, but the Editor likes more acid in her dressing.
- If you are lucky enough to find some blood orange vinegar, your orange vinaigrette will taste even better. Use it instead of the juices. We got ours at the Extra Virgin Oil store in Mystic, Connecticut.
- Of course you could use fresh orange sections that you laboriously separate and depith yourself, and purist would say you should. Not really necessary… unless you have blood oranges, and then all the work is more than worth it if you can resist eating them with your best artisanal ham or some prociutto.
- Leave the scallion greens in biggish (3/8 inch) slices cut on a jaunty slant.