After a trip to the Ferry Building farmer's market, I splurged and picked up a beautiful bunch of watercress from Marin Roots Farms and a small box of mixed mushrooms from Far West Funghi (oh how I love that place). I thought the earthiness of the mushrooms would go well with the refreshing, peppery watercress.
I really wanted to make a watercress soup from my go-to cookbook for veggies, Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables. Watercress is wilted in hot vegetable stock and pureed with tarragon (I used mint) and parsley and finished with a touch of creme fraiche or cream.
The tangy and peppery flavor of watercress shines through beautifully in this refreshing soup. It was a bit time consuming to make the soup (there was a lot of time spent straining the puree through a medium-fine sieve) but the silky, smooth texture was absolutely worth it.
The photo doesn't do the soup justice given the lack of natural lighting- it is actually a gorgeous green!
Now about those mushrooms! I simply sauteed the mushrooms in butter with shallot and garlic and seasoned well with sea salt and a pinch of ground pepper. I served the sauteed mushrooms on Acme olive bread toast. Heavenly.
Watercress Soup (Chez Panisse Vegetables)
2 bunches watercress
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
4 cups of vegetable broth
handful of parsley leaves
handful of tarragon leaves (I used fresh mint)
2 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
creme fraiche or cream
Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the parsley. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and place a smaller bowl on top of the ice.
Remove the soup from the heat. Add the watercress and tarragon (or mint), allow the soup to stand for no longer than 4 minutes. Immediately puree the soup carefully in a blender on the lowest possible speed (be careful- it may splatter), and once it is pureed, turn the blender up to high and blend until smooth and creamy. Strain the pureed soup into the small bowl set on ice using a medium-fine sieve. Stir the soup until it is room temperature. Remove from ice and season well with salt and pepper.
Reheat soup to simmer just before serving, but do not boil. Serve in bowls with lightly salted creme fraiche streaked on the surface.