Chef Ming Tsai
Watercress usually finds its way into the salad bowl or as a plate garnish, but chef Ming Tsai maximizes its slightly bitter flavor and bright color in a bisque-style soup. The stems and leaves are cooked separately in a garlicky broth, then the liquid is pureed with butter to form a creamy soup that doesn’t rely on cream for body. A fresh apple salsa adds textural contrast.
2 lb. watercress, stems and leaves separated
2 large onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 qt. low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
¼ lb. butter, cut into ½-in. pieces
1 apple, peeled and cut into ¼-in. dice
1 tsp. honey
Juice of 1 lime
1. Cut watercress stems into 1-inch pieces; set aside. In large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat grapeseed oil. Add onions and garlic; cook 4 minutes until fragrant.
2. Add chicken stock and season really well with salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Add watercress stems; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add watercress leaves; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.
3. In batches, pour mixture into blender container; puree soup with butter, adding slowly with blender running. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, combine apples, honey and lime juice; season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. To serve, pour hot soup into warm bowls. Garnish with apple salsa.
Photograph courtesy of B&W Quality Growers