So often overlooked as a mere garnish, cress varieties are the little salad leaves that (as members of the mustard family) deliver big flavours.
Koppert Cress is the company on a mission to introduce the dazzling array of textures and, more importantly, tastes they provide.
Maws are now delighted to offer Koppert’s selection boxes of cress varieties, carefully assembled to prove that, whether creating classic European or Asian cuisine, cooking with delicate seafoods and vegetables or robust fungi and red meat, there’s a cress variety that provides the perfect accompaniment, and tastes as good as it looks.
Complementing Koppert’s impressive range of cresses, the company also specialises in complementary varieties of micro herbs, edible flowers and sea vegetables.
Micro herbs such as bronze fennel, atsina and micro red-vein sorrel, are widely used in high-end dining establishments to add greater depths of flavour and complexity to dishes.
Sea vegetables, such as samphire and oyster leaf, beautifully complement fish and shellfish, while edible flowers, from anise and apple blossom to delicate cornabria and jasmine, take dishes to new aesthetic levels - transforming them into delicious works of art.
Cress is more
However, it is the passion for cultivating the humble cress plant, in all it’s myriad varieties, flavours and forms, in conjunction with a determination to elevate cress beyond the lazy preconceptions associated with Lepidium sativum (the common variety better known as garden cress, and most frequently found in your egg-mayo sandwich), that is helping Koppert Cress to generate increasing levels of commercial success.
Since 2002 the company has grown five-fold, and today their greenhouses located in the Westland area of the Netherland now extend dramatically across1.7 hectares.
This expansion is being driven by the growing demand for specialist cress varieties, as more and more of the world’s most talented and innovative chefs embrace the complementary flavours of this beautiful and unusual ingredient, using it to push the boundaries of visual and olfactory experience within their dining room and restaurant menus.
Today, Koppert Cress produce over forty different specialty cresses, and have committed themselves to introducing at least one further new variety to their range each year - ensuring that imaginative chefs and catering professionals will always have something fresh and exiting to work with.
Cress for finesse
Originating in Asia, cresses owe their peppery flavour to being members of the mustard family of cruciferous vegetables (named after the Greek cross due to their four-petal flowers) and have played a part in the cuisines of this region for centuries.
No surprise then that many cress varieties make an ideal accompaniment to fish, cooked or raw, and clear soups – both staples of traditional Asian cuisine.
Yet combine the versatility of this salad leaf with the breadth of the Koppert range and you’ll find a cress variety to deliciously accompany artisan cheeses produced with both sheep and goat milks (Zorri Cress with its mild horseradish tang, and cumin flavoured Jeere Cress respectively), game dishes (vivid Scarlet Cress, with it’s mild taste of red beet), and even certain desserts (the sweet aniseed and liquorice notes of Atsina Cress make an inspired accompaniment to poached fruit, ice cream and white chocolate).
Introducing the Koppert Cress Sakura Mix Box
For those keen to experiment, as well as those already working with cress as an innovative ingredient, Maws are delighted to introduce Koppert’s Sakura Mix Box. Designed to provide the ideal introduction for budding cress connoisseurs, this box totals eighteen cress cups containing six of the company’s most popular and versatile cress creations.
Along with easily recognisable, sharp flavoured Mustard Cress, you’ll find soft, broad-leafed Borage Cress, delivering flavours of cucumber and oyster that allow it to work just as well in high-tea sandwiches as when accompanying shellfish such as scallops.
There’s pungent Brocco Cress, with a genuine basil tang that’s perfect for livening Mediterranean salads, and works particularly well with tomatoes and soft cheeses. Glossy, dark-green leafed Tahoon Cress with its earthy forest flavour is a must for game dishes and strong cheese, while the mild garlic flavour of Rock Chive is ready to enhance virtually any fish or meat dish.
Meanwhile, with it’s pink stems, deep crimson leaves and peppery radish taste, Sakura Cress is a variety that provides a visual ‘wow factor’ that easily matches its intense flavour, and pairs perfectly with both meat and raw fish.
So when it comes to elevating your menu offering, in terms of aesthetics and taste, we hope you’ll be as convinced as we are that it’s time to stop regarding this often overlooked salad leaf as a banal garnish, and start embracing cress as an ingredient for success.
Contact us too place and order or find out more about what we can supply from the Koppert Cress range.