Velouté de cresson

watercress soup3

Watercress soup

This is one of the rare recipes where I prefer heavy cream to crème fraîche. The reason? It makes it easier to decorate the soup with a pretty swirl of cream just before serving.

Watercress soup is very quick to prepare and is delicious both hot and chilled. No spice needed, as the watercress is quite piquant on its own — but if you like you can add some chopped fresh herbs just before bringing the soup to the table. The quantities below are for two people. For a larger crowd, double or triple the recipe.

1 bunch watercress (3/4 pound; 330 grams)
1 medium potato
1 shallot
3 cups (3/4 liter) homemade chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1 pinch dried tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. crème fraîche or heavy cream

Remove the watercress stems. If your watercress came in a bunch from the market, simply slice through the bunch above the tie. If it’s loose, cut off the thick bottom part of the stems — no need to separate each leaf, as the thinner stems can be blended into the soup.

Wash the watercress carefully: Immerse it in a basin of water, then spin dry in the salad spinner. Repeat.

Peel and cube the potato. Peel and dice the shallot.

Bring the broth or water to a boil. Add the watercress, potato, shallot, tarragon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potato is very tender. Do not cover the pot.

Blend the soup and return to a clean pot. It will be a deep bright green. Add the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the cream.

Reheat gently just before serving. Add a swirl or drizzle of heavy cream to each bowl, or set a bowl or pitcher of extra cream on the table. Serves 2.

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4 Responses to Velouté de cresson

  1. Bruce says:

    I love this soup. I’ve been making a similar version for the past few summers, served cold.

    Your recipe calls for a shallot. I’ve never been good a processing shallots, stymied by the skin. Could we see a video of how you deal with this delicious but troublesome item? Thanks!

    • Meg says:

      You can use an onion instead if you like. As for shallots, I deal with them the same as onions — snap off a couple outer layers, then chop up the interior. Meantime thanks for the video suggestion! I hope that will be coming up soon.

  2. Linder says:

    Does it matter what kind of potato it is?

    • Meg says:

      Not really. Any potato will do. But in my experience, the younger the better. New potatoes are most flavorful, and tenderest, so if you can find them that might be my first choice. I used a fairly young russet potato in the soup pictured on this page — peel removed, of course.

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