McGrath Farms' Watercress Soup with Gentleman's Relish Toast
Yay another spring recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. I usually don't like to make soups. The only (non-Korean) soups I've ever had growing up was canned, usually cream of something or clam chowder. I was never into chicken noodles. Yuck, well to the canned ones at least.
So my soup history's been pretty bland. Until I had my first two really great soups last summer: Lucques's Soupe au Pistou with Amaranth & Grana Breadcrumbs and Campanile's Summer Tomato Soup. Both soups were so great, full of flavor and extremely fresh. Since then my view on soups has changed a little bit. I still tread lightly on making soups but once in a while I feel give it a try and I definitely do give it an ogle when I read a menu. Results at home are okay and sometimes good (according to others) but my homemade soups never really satisfy me that much.
But when I started spending the few hours a week in the AOC kitchen, tasting seasonal flavors, and marching my culinary brain through the Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook, I realized how an ingredient can be appreciated and crafted into a simple unpretentious delicious dish. So I thought for my second Lucques dish for spring I would try out McGrath Farms' Watercress Soup with Gentleman's Relish Toast.
The recipe called for 5 cups or 2 bunches of watercress, which I got from Marina Farms market (and not McGrath Farms). The soup needs to be made right before serving, wilting the watercress and herbs with hot vegetable stock then blending it to a smooth consistency. The recipe states that "at this point, the soup's consistency should be that of heavy cream". Maybe I was mistaken but the first half of the blended soup was not as thick at heavy cream! :/ Yikes. So I blended the second watercress bunch with less than half amount of liquid that was required then mixed the two batches together. Still not thick enough.
So then I went guerilla style. I cut up some baguette pieces, soaked it in the watery soup, added a bit more salt, then blended it up. It got thicker but I still wasn't sure. But at this point I just wanted to eat it. Maybe an extra bunch next time would help the consistency. But flavor-wise this is the best homemade soup I've made to date! Seriously, if I can fuck up a soup recipe and it still tastes better than any other soups I've made in my life, it must be a great recipe.
And it was quite well enjoyed with a crisp baguette toast with "gentleman's relish". Hehe, a great name for a spread.
This Irish condiment sold in jars under the name Patun Peperium, was created in 1828 and is still being made by only one company, from a secret blend of anchovy, butter, herbs, and spices. The story goes that the man who created it presume that ladies' taste buds were too delicate for this hearty anchovy spread. As my version demonstrates, I disgree. [Sunday Suppers at Lucques]
All I gotta say is, you go grrl! Butter smashed with minced anchovy, chives, shallots, parsley, cayenne, lemon juice and zest... this is making my mouth water. Mmmm.