This simple watercress salad celebrates all the flavors that define Spanish cuisine. Try it as an appetizer to some delicious Poblano Peppers.

What to buy: Look for membrillo, also called quince paste, in gourmet groceries and Latin markets. Manchego is an aged sheep’s-milk cheese from Spain; look for it in gourmet groceries. All of these Spanish products are also available online at La Tienda.

This recipe was featured as part of our Father’s Day Grilled Paella Feast.

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 15 mins

Ingredients (8)

  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bunches watercress, stemmed and washed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 4 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved into thin slices
  • 4 ounces membrillo, small dice


  1. Combine the garlic, vinegar, and a couple pinches of salt in a medium, nonreactive bowl. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a steady stream until completely incorporated.
  2. Combine the watercress, almonds, half of the cheese shavings, and half of the diced membrillo in a second bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates and garnish with the remaining cheese and membrillo. Serve immediately.

Beverage pairing: Montsarra Cava, Spain. Cava is Spanish sparkling wine, and this one has the light-bodied spritz to merge seamlessly with the Manchego cheese, handle the bitterness of the cress, and appeal to the honeyed sweetness of the membrillo.