Watercress may be more widespread than sorrel, but if it seems less exotic it makes an equally good soup. Jane Grigson gives credit for both preparations to Margaret Costa. Mrs. Grigson is right as usual about this one: “A good recipe.” Six bowls.
-1 lb peeled and diced potatoes
-a sliced onion
-about 2½ quarts chicken or vegetable stock, or water
-a smaller, grated, onion
-a big bunch of watercress (they come that way)
-about 1½ Tablespoons unsalted butter
-salt and pepper
-about 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Simmer the potatoes with the sliced onion in a very little water until tender, drain them, then run the mixture through a food mill or puree it in a processor.
- Stir the stock or water into the mashed potato mixture to marry the stock and vegetables in a thin puree, then incorporate the grated onion.
- Set aside a few of the prettier watercress leaves to garnish the soup, chop the rest and fry it in the butter for about 5 minutes, then add the watercress to the thin puree.
- Gently heat the soup and season it with a pinch of the nutmeg and, of course, salt and pepper.
- Ladle the hot soup into bowls, float some cream atop each serving and top it in turn with the pretty watercress leaves that you remembered not to cook.
- Sometimes part of a watercress stem can be pithy and even tough; if so, it also may be bitter so toss it.
- Some people, like our Reluctant Correspondent, do not like nutmeg and they are welcome to omit it from this recipe. Mace is a good substitute, but the same people with reservations about nutmeg balk at mace. We are running out of options; try a little cayenne.