Maman Blanc never used stock for soups. She believed that, if the main ingredients are fresh enough, they should provide all the flavour you need. This recipe proves her point. The peppery watercress taste is the star of this soup, and its vivid bright green colour is like spring in a bowl.
onion, peeled and diced
bunches of watercress (200g each), stalks removed
spinach, stalks removed, washed
freshly ground black pepper
To serve (optional)
crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat.
Add the onion and sweat gently for 3–5 minutes until softened and translucent.
The sweating process will convert the natural starches present in the onion into sugars, enhancing the flavour of the soup.
Turn up the heat, add the watercress and spinach and wilt for 2 minutes.
Watercress varies in its intensity of flavour. If your watercress is very peppery, cut off the entire stalk, but if it is mild, retain some of the stalk.
Add the boiling water, season with the salt and pepper, and boil for 2 minutes only. Adding boiling water speeds up the cooking of the watercress and spinach, retaining the colour, flavour and vitamins.
Season early on to allow the salt to permeate the ingredients, but do so sparingly and allow for the pepperiness of the watercress. You can always add more later.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the ice to stop the cooking process. This helps to retain the vivid colour of the watercress, as well as its texture, taste and nutrients.
Purée the soup in a blender until very smooth. You may need to do this in a few batches.
Re-heat at the last moment, then taste and correct the seasoning.
Serve immediately, in a warmed tureen or individual bowls topped with a spoonful of crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt.
This recipe is adapted from the book Kitchen Secrets
Raymond’s love of delicious food is lifelong. Years of experience have given him a rich store of knowledge and the skill to create fantastic dishes that work time after time. With a range of achievable and inspirational recipes for cooks of all abilities - and useful tips throughout - this book brings Gallic passion and precision into the home kitchen.