No fuss Watercress and Basil Pesto


If you hadn’t noticed from other posts,  I do love to cook, and more importantly to devour what I have lovingly produced afterwards. However, I don’t have a lot of time mid week, but I do still want to eat well. In fact, it’s one thing I don’t think I can compromise on. Everything else can go to pot, as long as I’ve had a good meal, everything seems fine to me.

This week, in between running into to the house after finishing a rugby tournament (obviously not me playing I hasten to add) and rushing out again to football training an hour and a bit later, I think I struck gold. I had a bag of watercress and some salmon, and had thought that morning that we’d have a risotto, but true to form, I had been overly optimistic with timings, and it was clear that we would either have to be late for football (and face the boys and the subsequent riot) or have a quick rethink. Not having the strength to face said riot (I was hungry! Supporting takes it out of you) I got out the food processor and started chucking stuff in.

A lot of people worry about watercress being too peppery, especially for children, and so only use it in a creamy sauce or soup, but I am happy to report it makes a wonderful pesto, especially if you combine it with lots of basil and a splash or so of fresh lemon juice, and even in this form is still a perfect combination with salmon. And do I even need to list it’s many health benefits? I’m not sure if anyone can have missed them, but if you have, don’t worry. Suffice to say that it is full of iron and vitamin C (just to make sure you can absorb all that iron), calcium, magnum, maganese, vitamins A and K as well, and is high in fibre. It is also  supposedly an aphrodisiac, and can also help cure a hangover, which does leave me wondering why we’re not eating a whole lot more of it. Anyway, give this pesto a go, and maybe we will all be soon.

Watercress and Basil Pesto with Orzo Soya Beans and Salmon

120g Watercress

A large bunch of basil ( I used thai basil, which has a slightly aniseedy hint to it, but either type would be fine)

About 60 ml of olive oil

1 clove of garlic

60g of blanched almonds

1 tsp maldon salt

The juice if one lemon (you probably won’t need all of it, start with half and taste)

Orzo (or whatever pasta you are using)

200g edamame (green soya) beans (I used frozen)

2x 213g tins of red salmon (yes, I know, but I didn’t have time to cook the salmon, This would be really good though, with pan fried salmon)

Put all your ingredients into a food processor, reserving some strands of watercress to drape artistically over your finished meal,  and blend until smooth. Check the seasoning.

Cook the orzo (or whatever pasta you are using, linguine would be good I think too) according to the packet instructions. Just over half way through, throw in your beans so that they can cook through too. Reserve a few tablespoons of cooking liquid.

Coat your orzo with pesto, using a splash or two of the reserved liquid if it is a bit too thick, and then flake over your salmon, and garnish with the reserved watercress and a slice of lemon if you’d like more.



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