Warm watercress salad
Emergency kits. Let’s roll through some scenarios, shall we? (And because I recently finished the book Cloud Atlas and found David Mitchell’s ad-hoc director named Lars extremely helpful to dramatize the telling of one of his stories, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, I will borrow Lars for this post.)
Softball game, bases are loaded. You rip across that diamond as the bat cracks upon impact and slide victoriously home but at the cost of your shins, as you realize that scrape is going to bleed out more blood than the base can soak up. Better have a really big gauze in that red cross box of yours. (Lars, zoom into the kid’s face and keep zooming past his mouth shrieking open in pain!) Airplane just ripped in two? How about an oxygen mask? (Lars wait, we’re pretending that the top is still over your head so that you can see the mask dangling above you.) Or, my favourite: lost and stuck after a day’s lone hike while the sun is setting and you hear nothing but the howling wind (Lars, cue in the fierce wind audio and quickly pan to a coyote moon silhouetted by a cliff piercing above a tense thicket). Got any energy bars left in that backpack?
When the going gets tough and decides to walk away further into the abyss of ghastly ordeals, we can all use an emergency kit. Usually they are full of things that help make us feel better, whether that is physical or psychosomatic. In the case of food, we call these comfort foods, which typically pile up in the latter category at the expense of the former. But there is one element in the comfort, emergency food we might all look for in an emergency — Lars, this time you can choose: blizzard, freak windstorm or mighty monsoon rain? That common thing we’d seek would be warmth.
Provided there is electricity, perhaps you’ll want something hot off the stove. And so in the tenet of healthy eating, here is a salad that is not only good for you, but hot and tasty. Note the star ingredient, watercress. Whereas lettuce will wilt at any ray of heat, watercress will come alive in it. The flavours work really well if you include a bit of broth as well.
Warm watercress salad recipe
- 1 1/2 cup watercress, washed and dried
- 1/3 cup black olives
- 1 chicken breast, marinated with salt, pepper, and your favourite herb
- 1/4 cup chicken broth or stock
- Grill the marinated chicken breast, seasoning with salt and pepper as it cooks. Remove from heat when it’s just done and slice into bite-sized pieces.
- On high heat, pour the broth into a shallow pan. When it is boiling, throw in the watercress and gently mix. Cover the pan, and let the watercress cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the green colour brightens.
- Add the olives and chicken to the watercress and gently toss. Serve immediately.