It’s early here, but a lot has started to come to life already. Walking through the gardens observing what is already sprouting, I was surprised to see my winter cress not only survived the winter, but bolting in the herb gardens. To discourage it from going to seed already I cut it down and gathered leaves. Sometimes what happens in the kitchen is driven by what’s happening in the garden. Nothing going to waste means using what is fresh and at hand. So I took advantage of the find and made watercress soup, and some cress sandwiches. I used the following recipe with my Wintercress.

 

WATERCRESS SOUP

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 quarts low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 bunches watercress (about 2 pounds), tough stems trimmed, chopped (about 20 cups)
  • 1½ teaspoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, divided

RECIPE PREPARATION
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5–6 minutes. Add broth and potatoes; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add watercress to pot; stir until leaves wilt. Let soup cool briefly. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to same pot. Stir in 1½ tsp. lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Whisk cream with a pinch of salt in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in 1½ Tbsp. chives.

Rewarm soup gently over low heat. Divide soup among demitasse or small teacups and garnish each cup with a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. chives over.

Here are some links for ideas:

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/watercress-soup

https://www.marthastewart.com/335988/watercress-and-cucumber-salad

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/m/recipe/cucumber-watercress-tea-sandwiches.html
(I use whipped cream cheese in this one)

Rick Riley | Mezzacello
Rick Riley | Mezzacello
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