Watercress Sauce

Sauce cressonette

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Cuisine of the Sun

By Roger Vergé

Published 1979

  • About



  • 2 bunches of watercress
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 generous tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon strong mustard
  • 200 ml ( pint) olive oil
  • salt, cayenne pepper


  • Cold veal and chicken, fish, lobsters and other crustaceans, hot or cold boiled or steamed vegetables.


Preparing the watercress

Bring 1 litre ( pints) of well salted water to the boil and plunge in the well-washed watercress for 10 seconds. Refresh under cold running water and drain. Remove fifty or so leaves and set on one side in a bowl of cold water. Press the remaining watercress between your hands to extract the water and purée in a liquidiser or through the fine blade of a mouli-légumes. If you use a liquidiser the purée may be a bit dry, in which case moisten it with 3–4 tablespoons of olive oil. If the watercress is at all fibrous strain the purée through a fine sieve. Keep in a cool place.

Preparing the mayonnaise

To make a successful mayonnaise you need only remember two pieces of advice: none of the ingredients, not even the bowl in which it is made, should be chilled. If you have added the oil too fast you can rescue it by adding a dessertspoon of lukewarm water and whisking rather fast. So, to make mayonnaise all you have to do is put the egg yolk, the mustard, the juice of half a lemon and a little salt in a bowl. Mix them well and forget them for 5 minutes. Then add the oil in a thin stream, whisking all the time until all the oil is incorporated. Add the rest of the lemon juice. That’s all.

Add the watercress purée to the mayonnaise.

Put the cream in another bowl and whisk until thick. Season with salt. Mix the cream and the watercress mayonnaise together. Drain the whole watercress leaves (1) and dry them on a towel or kitchen-paper. Fold them into the mayonnaise and cream mixture. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and keep the sauce in a cool place. Serve in a sauceboat.