Watercress from Sausalito Springs
When you see a farmer or producer singlemindedly focused on one thing, almost always, that one thing turns out to be truly exceptional.
This is exactly the case of Sausalito Springs, a small family farm located in Sonoma County which has been growing high-quality organic watercress since 1988. Grown in fresh well water, their watercress is harvested tops only, triple washed, hydrocooled, and packed so that the sprigs continue to grow in the packaging.
I got my hands on a bag of these gorgeous greens and it looked so fresh I wanted to roll around and frolic in fields of it.
Eaten raw as a salad or in a sandwich, watercress has a surprisingly spicy bite to it. Blanched or sauteed, the spice mellows out a bit, but it still retains its fresh, clean flavor.
Since I had a big bag to play with, I decided to make a simple pureed soup that would allow the taste of the watercress to really shine.
Taking an immersion hand blender to my watercress soup
Borrowing the presentation from my dining-out experiences, I opted to serve the soup in double shot glasses as a fun starter. Served warm, this is a soothing and rich teaser. Served chilled, it's cool, refreshing, and just sings spring.
Watercress Soup Shots
Watercress Soup Shots
1 lb. watercress, cleaned
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, thoroughly washed and julienned
8 cups (64 oz.) chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
Whole milk plain yogurt for garnishing
Salt to taste
1. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the diced potatoes; cook until softened, about 20 minutes.
2. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onions and leeks, and sautee until softened and translucent. Season with a pinch of salt.
3. In a separate pot of boiling salted water, blanch the watercress for 30 seconds. Shock it in an ice bath to stop the cooking, drain, roughly chop it into small pieces, and set aside.
4. Add the onions, leeks, and watercress to the large pot of chicken stock. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.
5. Using an immersion blender, or working in batches with a standing blender, puree the soup until smooth. Mix in the cream, and season with salt to taste.
6. This soup can be served hot or chilled. Before serving, garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt.