This was the first recipe I wrote for Great British Chefs in 2017, part of a series of seasonal vegan salads. It celebrates some of the best produce of the spring, with all the flavours ramped up to their maximum! For me, watercress and tarragon is a match made in heaven, and watercress, cream cheese and marmite sandwiches were a childhood favourite… I’ve combined the two flavour combinations here in this gutsy, vibrant salad.
The watercress sauce is enriched with soaked cashews; this adds wonderful body to the sauce without interrupting the punch of the watercress and lemon. A high power blender is key here, making the sauce as creamy and smooth as possible. The tarragon and toasted almond pesto is deliberately left chunky as to add contrasting texture.
This recipe serves 4 people
For the watercress sauce:
50g cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 lemon, juice only
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
30ml olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
For the tarragon & almond dressing:
small handful of tarragon leaves
30g blanched almonds, roasted
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
For the Marmite potatoes:
400g new potatoes, halved
1 teaspoon marmite
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad:
baby watercress, to garnish
shaved radish, to garnish
Soak the cashews in water for at least 2 hours, and up to 6 hours (at room temperature).
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Toast the almonds for 4-6 minutes, until golden.
Halve the new potatoes, coat with the olive oil and marmite; using your hands here is best!
Roast the potatoes on a lined baking tray for 24 minutes until golden and crispy.
Drain the cashews and blend with the watercress, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, water, and salt & pepper until smooth.
With the motor running on high, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream to emulsify.
Transfer the watercress sauce to the fridge.
Finely chop the tarragon and roughly chop the toasted almonds.
Combine the tarragon and almonds with the white wine vinegar, olive oil and seasoning, to make the pesto-style dressing.
Finely shave the radish and hold in ice-cold water to crisp up.
Allow the potatoes to cool before plating (warm is okay).
To plate: spoon the watercress sauce onto your serving plate or platter, spread it around evenly; scatter over the marmite potatoes and drizzle with the tarragon & almond dressing; garnish with shaved radish and extra watercress leaves.