Cooking with watercress

“Watercress grows wild on the edges of rivers and streams but, although I can remember foraging for it in my childhood, I would be cautious of doing so now. Instead, I grow watercress in containers with well-watered soil. It’s incredibly healthy and should be included in every salad you make”

Parmesan-crumbled pork chops with caramelised apples and watercress mash

Serves 4

750g potatoes, peeled and
cut into even-sized pieces
75ml milk
50g butter
150g watercress
100g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
125g breadcrumbs
50g Parmesan
4 pork chops
Oil and butter for frying
30g brown sugar
2 apples, sliced across the core into rounds


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Steam the potatoes until tender before mashing with the milk, butter and seasoning. Fold the watercress through the mash to allow it to wilt. Place it in an ovenproof dish, add a knob of butter to the top, cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven.

Put the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Stir the Parmesan through the breadcrumbs and season. Take the pork chops and, one by one, toss them first in the flour to coat them completely, followed by the beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs. Heat a large knob of butter and a generous splash of sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the pork chops, one at a time. Cook until golden brown. Place them in an ovenproof dish as you go, keeping them warm in a low oven.

When the pork chops are all cooked, wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper. Sprinkle the brown sugar into the pan and return it to the heat. Add the slices of apple and cook them until softened and the sugar has caramelised. Turn them over after a few minutes to cook the other side. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Serve the pork chops with the watercress mash, the caramelised apples and extra watercress on the side.

More ways with watercress

Tempura oysters with watercress salad for two

Start by shucking six oysters. Using a tea towel to hold the oyster shells in one hand and an oyster knife in the other, prise the shells open. Tip the oysters onto kitchen paper to absorb excess water and wash the shells well, placing them to one side for serving. Next, mix 150g plain flour and 100g cornflour in a bowl. Add enough sparkling water to make them into a thick batter. Pour sunflower oil into a wok to 3cm deep and heat. Drop the oysters into the batter, ensuring they’re well coated, and then add them to the hot oil. Fry the battered oysters in the wok for about two minutes, before draining for a few moments on kitchen paper. Arrange handfuls of watercress on plates with the oyster shells. Return the oysters to their shells and scatter them with a little finely sliced chilli and spring onion. Squeeze lemon juice over the oysters and watercress and serve.

Watercress and orange salad

Take watercress and sliced oranges and add a classic vinaigrette for a stylish, bright and simple salad.

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