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What flavors complement watercress?


sheepish
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Mrs Sheepish booked a table for lunch at a local eaterie on Feb 13 to celebrate her birthday, knowing left to me no table would be booked.

This is patently ridiculous because it's Wales v Scotland 6 Nations rugby at 14:00 that day, so in a romantic gesture I have offered to cook dinner that evening. Anything she wants.

She wants watercress soup, followed by venison, followed by roulade.

Venison is no problem. Lots of room for something suitably refined.

Watercress soup? I don't do big bowls of soup. I wan't to serve it in little coffee cups. In which case I'd like to accompany by something small, or a foam ontop to continue the coffee theme. eg for pea soup I can use a parmesan crisp or mini croque monsieur. for chick pea soup a ras-al-hanout foam [1]. What *goes* with watercress though as a complimentary flavour? I just can't think of anything.

TIA.

[1] Blatant rip-offs from imaginative chefs.

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Unhappily for you, I was reading Marguerite Patten's Best British Dishes last night - she gives as variations on cream of watercress soup:

Cheese and watercress soup

Egg and watercress soup

Ham and watercress soup

Seafood and watercress soup

Egg, like egg with mustard & cress ? Your mission, should you choose to accept it: make a watercress soup that'll firm when chilled (so, good stock, of course), set a chawanmushi seafood custard on top of it, then heat through to serve (or chill, and turn the heating up). Or equally, a chicken-stock chawanmushi if you base the soup on chicken stock, and call it 'oyako (parent & child) soup'.

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it: make a watercress soup that'll firm when chilled (so, good stock, of course), set a chawanmushi seafood custard on top of it, then heat through to serve

I like that. And I like those savoury custard things in Japan. Sadly Mrs Sheepish couldn't even look in my direction when I was indulging on our trip, so repulsive did she find the idea of savoury custard. The repercussions of my ordering the "crab set" for two in some place in Osaka, which contained a little pot of custard hiding under a porcelain lid to snare the unwarey is still mentioned in one of those situations where women remember all past indiscretions the moment you try and win a current argument.

Inline with the previous post the cheese (probably goat) sounds a good idea.

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You could maybe make a smoked salmon gelee? Make a stock out of the smoked salmon using leek, onion, carrot etc and a piece of smoked salmon. Bring it to the boil and then turn it all the way down so it doesn't bubble or boil to keep it really really clear (i.e consomme). Then set it with gelatine or agar. Agar would be interesting, as you could have a cold soup with warm gelee. You could add a couple of other things there if you want, maybe some confit egg yolk if you have the equipment or a goat's cheese sorbet. But I'd try and keep it as simple as possible.

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What about adding a seared scallop and crispy pancetta to the soup as a garnish? Or a couple of poached quail eggs would be tasty too, or even a poached quail egg and a little piece of poached salmon?

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Lemon. How about a Greek avogolemono style broth that's loaded with wilted watercress for something new and a little different?

That sounds good. I might have to try make that for myself... :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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I'd serve it in a regular soup bowl to show off the bright green, and use a little crab meat as a garnish.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

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  • 1 month later...

Just to close the loop. After starting with those salmon tartare cornets from the French Laundry cookbook (and burnt fingers from rolling them cornets) I went with the goat's cheese on some toasted ciabatta. I really haven't got the hang of photographing food. That is toast, it just looks like bread. The soup was a Raymond Blanc recipe. Just watercress, spinach and water really. It was a bit fiberous for me, despite pushing through a tamis. Reminded me of nettle soup. The goats cheese really lifted it though, as Mrs Sheepish liked it.

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Followed it with scallops. Totally unrelated to watercress but they were my best attempt at pretty food so far, especially when I cropped out the cauliflower puree which was too firm to slide across the plate. Interleaved with Ras-al-hanout caramel. Hand pounded rose buds and other goodies to make the spice. Then bubbled the caramel to graininess twice when trying to heat it and watch Wales' unbelievable come back against Scotland in the rugby. All that for a couple of shards of caramel on each plate. My daughter loved the rest of it though and has now added "eat glass" to her two year old lexicon.

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Recipe is from "Essence". Followed that with Fillet of Roe Deer with Lapsang Souchong and Orange from the same book. Tasted very good. Didn't look quite so pretty. And ended with Lemon Roulade which was pretty ropey.

Edited by sheepish (log)
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"Essence".

"Essence" by David Everitt-Matthias, who "produces his award-winning dishes with a brigade of just three – the smallest two-star Michelin brigade in the world!" ? That's not even one star each.

Rugby schmugby :angry:

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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