A Punchy Taste of PersiaJuly 4, 2014

Is it a herb, is it a leaf? I can’t quite decide, but what I do know is that Persian Cress one of my top discoveries this summer. It’s sweet, aromatic and peppery all at once. I was introduced to it by Steve Rothwell who is the man behind Steve’s Leaves and who also came to speak to diners at my village hall Endangered Foods Feast in May. Steve’s team are always looking for new exciting leaves to launch onto the market and Persian Cress is his most recent, only hitting Waitrose stores a few weeks ago. A distant cousin of watercress, Persian Cress does indeed originate from Persia (present day Iran.) What I love about it is that it’s stunning to look at – like delicate green lace – and it packs a peppery bite which gives a nice punch to a salad, plate of roast vegetables, or even a pesto. I tasted it recently on Steve’s farm with Daniel Clifford, the two-Michelin-starred chef at Cambridge’s Midsummer House and he created the super roast veg and quinoa dish pictured here which is splashed with some homemade Persian Cress pesto. Daniel also loves Persian Cress with seafood. Daniel, I and a few others nibbled our way through a number of ‘new’ leaves that Steve is trialling – including a very fiery wasabi rocket that was my hot favourite – so expect plenty more exciting leaves in the salad bowl. 


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