Watercress soup with iced herbs and cream cube
This crisp green watercress soup is a lovely introduction to Spring which thankfully seems to have come early this year. Raw watercress tastes quite peppery but when cooked, its flavour becomes rounder and softer. Add in a few potatoes and you get a delightfully light yet filling velouté. To add un petit peu de chic, I accessorized it with iced cream and herb cubes. Fun, restaurantey-pretty, practical and delicious, these are my toys of the moment!

Watercress soup with iced herbs and cream cube

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Busy:15 min, Total prep time: 25 min
Prepare the iced cream cubes (at least half a day before serving):

Chop fresh herbs (for instance coriander, parsley, or thyme) and mix with some single cream. The mix must be really herby, my ratio is usually 100ml cream for a small bunch of coriander.

Pour the cream into the cavities of an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer.

Prepare the soup

Bring 1 l water to the boil.

Wash the watercress, chop off and discard the larger stems. Chop the shallot.

Peel the potatoes and slice them as finely as you can (the thinner the faster they will cook).

Melt half the butter in a large non stick pan with tall sides. When it starts foaming, add the shallots and potatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on medium low heat. Add the boiling water, 1/2 stock cube, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Melt the remaining butter in another pan. Add the watercress and sauté for  2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until the watercress leaves are just wilted.

Pour the watercress into the potato stock when it is ready, add 2 to 3 fresh pepper grindings, a bit of salt and whizz the soup using a stand or hand blender. Adjust the seasoning, add a bit of boiling water if needed and serve immediately with an iced cream cube in each bowl, and grated emental cheese and croutons on the side.

Prepare the iced cream cubes (at least half a day before serving):

Chop fresh herbs (for instance coriander, parsley, or thyme) and mix with some single cream. The mix must be really herby, my ratio is usually 100ml cream for a small bunch of coriander.

Pour the cream into the cavities of an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer.

Prepare the soup

Bring 1 l water to the boil.

Wash the watercress, chop off and discard the larger stems. Chop the shallot.

Peel the potatoes and slice them as finely as you can (the thinner the faster they will cook).

Melt half the butter in a large non stick pan with tall sides. When it starts foaming, add the shallots and potatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on medium low heat. Add the boiling water, 1/2 stock cube, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Melt the remaining butter in another pan. Add the watercress and sauté for  2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until the watercress leaves are just wilted.

Pour the watercress into the potato stock when it is ready, add 2 to 3 fresh pepper grindings, a bit of salt and whizz the soup using a stand or hand blender. Adjust the seasoning, add a bit of boiling water if needed and serve immediately with an iced cream cube in each bowl, and grated emental cheese and croutons on the side.

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If you are not using the iced cream cubes within 24 hours, unmould them from the tray once they have set and keep them in a sealed freezing bag. Use as you need to mix to soups, stews or sauces. They will keep for up to 2 months.

If you want a sharper look, freeze the cream into a larger brick-shaped container and cut the brick into slices. The herbs will be cut through very neatly, showing layers of neat green lines in the white cream.
Ingredients

Soup:
400 g watercress (about 4 small bunches)
3 medium potatoes
1 banana shallot
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cube chicken or vegetable stock
1 l water

Iced cubes:
100 ml single cream
A small bunch of fresh herbs: parsley, coriander

Serve with grated emmental cheese and croutons

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