Spring season: everyone seems naturally cheerful, happier and more energetic! Sunny weather and spring for me equals fresh and green. And because I also love some spice: watercress! If you can find a fresh bunch at your local store: don’t leave it.
Watercress is a fruit (really!) and belongs to the cress types. All cress types have a highly concentrated flavour; the taste of watercress is peppery and fresh, with a pinch of radish. Hard to substitute with other herbs, vegetables or fruit so take that bunch from your store ;-).
Did you know watercress is also extremely good for you? It contains an impressive list of minerals and vitamins and is good for the digestive system, skin, nails, and liver. In addition, watercress is also known as appetite-enhancing, good for metabolism and a blood purifier.
I liked that “appetite-enhancing” for the “farm to table” dinner I hosted last week; it’s nice if your guests can enjoy all four courses without stomach pains ;-). Wild watercress is rare and can be found in northern Europe, it’s cultivated throughout the year in the Netherlands. Despite I feel it really fits spring season; so I made a delicious soup with watercress and peas.
A tasty soup needs good garnish. Peas and fresh mint are a match made in heaven; nice and fresh! For this special dinner occasion I took the garnish to the next level: I added finely chopped Brandt & Levie fennel sausage and purple potato crisps.
Those crisps failed by the way: I wanted to make these myself from the special Violet Queen Perupa potato “my” handsome chef Joris Bijdendijk personally selected for the FoodWeLove Box, but I had no luck … Luckily I was prepared and bought a bag of readymade purple potato crisps. That’s my free tip of the day as well if you’re hosting a dinner party: be prepared when you work with a new or unknown product (or when you lack faith in your own cooking skills ;-))
Pea and watercress soup
- 200 gr watercress, washed and coarsely chopped (also the tasteful stems!)
- 250 gr frozen peas
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 litre of vegetable broth (preferably homemade)
- 100 ml cream
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- OPTIONAL: ½ Brandt & Levie fennel sausage, finely chopped
- OPTIONAL: handful purple potato chips
- Heat the vegetable broth on low heat
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the chopped onion and garlic (do not colour)
- Once the onion and garlic are soft, add the hot broth to the pan
- Add the frozen peas and chopped watercress, cook for 5 minutes over low heat
- Puree the soup in a blender
- Add the cream, heat and let simmer while allowing the cream to do its work
- Season with salt and freshly ground pepper
- Ladle the soup into plates or beautiful cups. Finish with a drizzle of extra cream and a mint leaf OR scoop some chopped sausage and chips on top of the soup
Do you ever use watercress in the kitchen? What do you do with it? I’m curious to hear, will you leave a message below?