Apple-Champagne Vinaigrette with Cresson de Vigne


This delicate little salad green may surprise you; it's French name is
Cresson de Vigne
(Watercress Vine).

If you have gardened chances are you have come across Cresson de Vigne (or Bittercress or Cardamine), considered by most to be a weed.

It's other name is Hairy Bittercress which is misleading, as it is neither hairy nor bitter. Bittercress tastes very much like watercress, only sweeter!

It voluntarily pops up nearly anywhere, and grows particularly well in forested areas, as well as in garden pots. In my garden it is most tender in Spring and Fall.


I garden organically so I harvest and prepare Bittercress, (or pull and discard what we will not eat before the seeds form), rather than using herbicides.

Here are some photos of parts of the plant; perhaps you may recognize it?

The following three photos are from
A rosette of a Cardamine

I like to harvest the plants when they are about 3 to 4 inch
in diameter. Before they have a chance to produce blossoms or seeds; they are also most tender and delicate at that size.

The diminutive blossoms, magnified.

The seeds actually 'explode' from the plant when barely brushed, or blown by the wind. And they sting if they happen to land in your eye. I try to pull and discard the plants before they reach this stage of maturity.

Bittercresses are in the cabbage (or cress) family which was, until recently, known as the Cruciferae. The name is derived from the Latin word "crux", meaning a cross, and refers to the “cross-shaped” arrangement of the four petals in each flower. (The more favored family name now is Brassicaceae, of the Mustard family)

It is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring which makes it invaluable to bees; the gardeners friends.

If you have a chance to try Bittercress, I believe you may like it. When in season it commands a fair price at French Farmers Markets.


The Vinaigrette~

But whether you can find (or choose to eat) Bittercress or not, this is a delicious vinagrette; it's delicious on a variety of young lettuce leaves.
It's best made shortly before serving, and used within a day or two. For the salad last night I added a couple of cubes of marinated Blue Cheese with Juniper Berries and Pink Peppercorns.


Apple - Champagne Vinaigrette

1 sweet-tart apple, peeled and shredded
A sweet-tart apple works best here; Honeygold or Gingergold
2/3 cup Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups light olive oil (I use quite a bit less, it's your choice, add to your own taste.)

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until the dressing is well blended. Or, you can vigorously whisk the ingredients in a small bowl until they are completely incorporated.



  1. Mari, only you could take what others consider a weed and make a gorgeous salad! I've never had nor heard of bittercress, you always widen my horizons :) It looks delicious!

  2. look at you, our new resident botantist too!

  3. Hi Carol ~ thank you. :)

    Hey Jain, good to see you! Not really new to botany I've always been fascinated by it. You, too?!

    Now, you know if cresson de vigne was offered in the gourmet section of the market... $$

    *wink and grin*

  4. Another knockout post Mari. Your photos are amazing. Every spring I have what I thought was a nasty little weed in my yard. It looks like the photo of rosettes of cardamine. Wouldn't that be something if I could make a salad out of it! I brought Honeycrisp apples home from the farmer's market on Saturday. I will try your dressing on other greens. Sounds delicious.

  5. Carol said it best, only you could make something this beautiful from what some consider a weed.

    Beautiful presentation.

  6. Mari, it may be snowing heavily here, but even Mother Nature would never hinder my cravings for such a beautifully-prepared salad!

  7. I had to come say hello! Your blog is charming!

  8. I've seen these growing - and yes, I always thought they were a weed! I love vinaigrettes and this one sounds delicious - so unusual with the shredded apple. Interesting and informative post and beautiful (as always) photos.


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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