Speedy watches more food and cooking shows these days than I do. And the two hosts he doesn’t like to miss are Nigella Lawson and Laura Calder. I used to watch Nigella a lot too but I have gotten tired of her over-the-top descriptions. Laura Calder, I still watch when I chance upon her show. And Marcella Valladolid. And Ina Garten. Now, that’s one TV host that I really respect.
The truth is, except for the movie channels and special events like the recent Golden Globe Awards, I hardly ever watch TV anymore. Not even food and cooking shows. I really lament how many of them have been turned into reality shows. I was idly clicking on the buttons of the remote one time and there was this show where the host takes on the role of a “detective” who “spies” on restaurant kitchens and food factories to learn their “secrets” so he can reproduce their recipes. Heck, I can’t even remember the name of the show. I only remember that it was so, so fake. As fake as Curtis Stone’s Take Home Chef and Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen.
So, anyway, this dish is Speedy’s version of Laura Calder’s gingered watercress. Such a simple, comforting dish with just five ingredients plus salt and pepper. The secret lies in cooking the aromatics until pasty so that the flavors are concentrated.
Speedy's version of Laura Calder's gingered watercress
- 1 big bunch watercress about 500 grams
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1-inch knob ginger
- 1 tomato seeded and roughly chopped
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Cut off the bottom portion of the stalks of the watercress and discard. Rinse the watercress leaves and tender stalks. Press between two kitchen towels to remove the water. Or use a salad spinner.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan. Saute the garlic and ginger until aromatic. Add the chopped tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the tomato pieces are very, very soft.
- Add the watercress. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, uncovered and with occasional stirring, until the greens are tender. By the time the dish is done, there should be very little liquid left.
- Serve as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish.