Spiced rocket soup with watercress oil
Rocket, watercress and chilli would give any cold a good spanking.
If you don't have a cold, make the rocket soup anyway - it is delicious. Adding the leaves to the spinach soup base at the last minute or two keeps the colour really bright green. If you cook the spinach too long, it tends to look a little grey.
4 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
500g potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
2 litres hot vegetable stock
4 bunches of wild rocket, washed and patted dry
200ml double cream
Salt and pepper
For watercress oil
1 bunch of watercress
250ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the shallots and fry gently for five minutes, stirring frequently. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add the chilli flakes, then stir in the potatoes and cook for three minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the hot stock and bring the soup to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-14 minutes until the potatoes are just tender. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the spinach and rocket and blend immediately in batches, until smooth, adding the cream while you blend; if you wait around before blending, you will begin to lose the electric green colour of the vegetables and some of their goodness too.
Return the soup to the pan, check the seasoning and reheat gently, ready for serving.
To make the watercress oil, wash and dry the watercress in a salad spinner. Transfer to a blender, pour in the olive oil and blend for 3-4 minutes for the maximum colour and flavour. Pour the oil through a very fine sieve or some muslin cloths. The oil will be a fantastic deep green colour.
Serve the soup hot with a drizzle of the green watercress oil over the top and a rocket leaf or two.
This recipe first appeared in 'Eat More Veg' by Arthur Potts Dawson