Variety is the spice of life and adding new microgreens to the lineup is an adventure for the senses. I’ve been experimenting with curly cress to see if it was as great as it’s promoters make it out to be- the next best thing to watercress.
I have to admit that I am not a fan of spicy foods. I once went to visit my son and pregnant daughter-in-law after a long day at work. Now they insist that they warned me, but I sure didn’t hear it if they did… I suspect the warning was whispered because they were in need of a laugh. A beautiful handmade pizza had just come out of their oven, I was famished, and so I grabbed a slice and took a big bite. I immediately felt the inferno boil down to my arms, out my ears, and burn my horrified belly! They had put chilies, jalapenos, cayenne and every other spicy item in their kitchen on that pizza. I learned my lesson well: be very, very cautious about food in their kitchen… But I digress…This spicy microgreen is good- even spice-wimps like me enjoy it!
Curly cress is also known as garden cress or ‘pepper grass’. It has a sharp, pungent, flavor that is reminiscent of watercress. A tasty addition to many dishes, it gives a unique flavor and a ‘zing’ to a dish without the burn of nasturtium leaves. It has a pleasant aftertaste and no lingering bite for those of us spice-wimps. Curly cress is a good match with eggs, in rice dishes, on sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, tossed in salads or sprinkled on pizza. It is a microgreen that is definitely worth growing and experimenting with.
I will be growing cress for the market this next summer and have been working on developing recipes to highlight their unique taste. This one, ‘Easy Fried Rice with Microgreens’ has become one of our favorites. We took a big batch to a family potluck, expecting to have plenty of leftovers. I came home with an empty pan- even the kids had seconds!
I am a fan of brown rice with its fiber, good taste, and b vitamins. I use brown rice in this recipe but it works just as well with white rice. I also like pea microgreens chopped up and added at the end along with a healthy handful of cress- the taste of the pea microgreens along with the frozen peas (or fresh peas in the summertime) is lovely, and the added nutrition turns this into a powerhouse of a meal.
Easy Fried Rice with Microgreens
- 4-5 cup cooked and chilled brown rice
- 3 tbsp butter, divided
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cubed small
- 1 medium onion, chopped small
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced fine, or rubbed
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3-4 lightly beaten eggs
- 1 cup pea or other microgreens, chopped
- 1/2 cup curly cress microgreens
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4-1/3 c soy sauce
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 4 tsp oyster sauce
- salt and pepper
- Preheat a large skillet or wok to med-high
- Add 2 tbsp butter to the pan. When it has melted, add the onion and stir until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the carrot ( and bell pepper if using) and cook until slightly tender.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not brown (1-2 minutes).
- Turn the heat up and add the rice and frozen peas. Cook and stir the mixture until the rice and peas are hot, 3-4 minutes
- Push all the ingredients to one side of the pan and add 1 tbsp butter to the empty side. Once the butter has melted add the lightly beaten eggs. Let the eggs cook for a minute or two, then scramble them. Once the eggs are fully cooked, mix in with the rice.
- Add the green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. Cook a few minutes until the mixture is hot, Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and add microgreens. Serve immediately with a few more cress microgreens as a garnish.