This recipe makes a light, clear watercress soup with a wonderfully fresh flavour. It's ideal as a starter to a springtime dinner party, maybe one where you're serving lamb or salmon as a main course. Apart from a good, tasty stock and - of course - fresh watercress, it's nice to add baby carrots and slivers of baby sweetcorn to the soup.
Clear watercress soup is very quick and easy to make. And as long as you don't add the watercress leaves, it can be prepared ahead of time and reheated just before it's needed.
I find that it's best prepared with home-made stock, but if you're in a hurry you can substitute good-quality bought chicken or vegetable stock.
But as it is such a simple soup, it really stands and falls with the quality of the stock and the freshness of the baby vegetables, so be choosy.
Wash the watercress. Pick the leaves and set aside. Roughly chop the stems.
Wash the baby carrots and baby corn and cut into slivers or small dice.
Heat the stock and add the chopped stems, carrots and corn and simmer until the vegetables are tender. (If you don't like watercress stems in your soup, strain them out now, but return the carrots and sweetcorn to the soup.)
Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper and a little soy sauce if liked.
When you're ready to serve, add the watercress leaves to the soup and stir until they are wilted a little. Then ladle into soup bowls, making sure that each diner has a share of the colourful vegetables in their bowl.