Cold Cream of Zucchini and Watercress Soup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/4 pounds zucchini, trimmed and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 cup packed watercress leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- Watercress sprigs, tough stems removed, garnish
- Chopped chives, garnish
- Cheddar-Pecan Crackers, accompaniment, recipe follows
- Cheddar-Pecan Crackers:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 1 cup packed grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Add the zucchini, salt, and pepper, and cook until tender. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Add the watercress and let wilt, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the thyme sprig.
With a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup. Return to the heat and stir in the cream. Heat gently and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, keeping in mind, that salt is less evident in cold foods.
Let cool and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 to 6 hours.
Transfer to a large thermos. To serve, pour into double-handled cream soup bowls or decorative cups. Swirl creme fraiche into each serving and garnish with watercress sprigs and chives. Serve with cheese crackers.Cheddar-Pecan Crackers:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Into a bowl, sift together the flour, cayenne, and salt.
In another bowl, cream together the butter and cheese. Add the dry ingredients and mix together. Fold in the pecans and sesame seeds. Drop onto the baking sheet 1 teaspoon at a time, spreading gently to flatten into rounds. Bake until golden and crisp around the edges, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving, or serve at room temperature.
Yield: about 1 dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes