watercress soup

This soup is so gorgeous - it literally comes out the color of the green in the gastronome logo. You can peek at a picture in the NYF menu entry. The flavor is very delicate, and so savory! Pushing it through a strainer or a tamis is a lot of work, but the smooooooth texture definitely makes the effort worth the payoff. I picked this soup because i know Beca loves watercress - and because i thought it would nicely complement a mushroom soup. The recipe comes from Chez Panisse Vegetables.

2 bunches watercress (about 1 pound)
1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups chicken stock or water (i used vegetable stock)
a few parsley leaves
a few tarragon leaves
salt and pepper
créme fraîche

Pick through the watercress and discard any thick stems.
Peel and slice the onion and the garlic thin and stew them in the olive oil, covered, until soft and translucent. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. After five minutes, add the parsley. Have ready a large bowl half-filled with ice and a smaller bowl, preferably stainless steel, that will nest inside it and rest on the ice.

Remove the soup from the heat, add the watercress and tarragon, and allow th esoup to tand for five minutes, no longer. Immediately purée the soup in a blender and pour it through a medium-fine sieve into the bowl on ice. Stir the soup until it is at room temperature, then remove it from the ice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reheat the soup to a simmer just before serving; do not boil it. LAdle the soup into bowls and garnish lightly with lines of lightly salted créme fraîche streaked on the surface.

Serves 6.

Note: This recipe also makes excellent spinach soup: just substitute tender young spinach for the watercress.

Note from meriko: I kept this in the fridge for about 5 hours before service; the bright green color held nicely.

Posted by shock on January 06, 2003 | TrackBack

The SF Chron food section this week wants to tell you about watercress:

Posted by: meriko on January 8, 2003 11:01 AM

I love watercress, and always have a bunch wilting in the 'fridge. :> It keeps pretty well, and I have found it makes a great bed of raw greens to plate things on for dinner gatherings when company is over. It's flavor elevates any dish and makes the taster think you've expended a lot of effort when actually it's just a bed of watercress with some lemon and sesame oil sprinkled on it. I also just grab them with other greens to make a salad - the tang of the watercress plays beautifully off both the citrusy dressings I love and more complex sweeter dressings. Two thumbs way up on watercress!

Posted by: Rebecca on January 9, 2003 7:48 AM
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