Soup: Watercress Soup
Salad: Rosemary Chicken, Avocado and Bacon Salad
The first time I tasted this yummy soup was at the Ballymaloe Cooking School in County Cork, Ireland. I was so good, and the fact that the soup can be served hot or cold made it the perfect choice for the June Supper Menu. Watercress is frequently mentioned as a foodstuff in the twelfth-century manuscript Agallamh na Seanorach (The Colloquy of the Old Men). Legend has it that it was watercress that enabled St Brendan to live the ripe old age of 180! In Birr Castle in Co. Offaly, Lord and Lady Rosse still serve a soup of watercress gathered from around St. Brendan’s well, just below the castle walls.I have it paired with a Rosemary Chicken, Avocado and Bacon Salad, a slice of Brown Bread and butter, and finished off with Fried Ice Cream. Great for a warm summer day.
St. Brendon Watercress soup
- 1 lb carrots, sliced
- 1 stock celery, chopped
- 1 cup chopped watercress
- To medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- To large onions, finally chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sherry
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Springs of watercress to garnish
- Put the carrots, celery, watercress, potatoes, onions, bay leaf to a large pot. Pour chicken stock over and cover. Cook over a medium heat until all vegetables are tender.
- Remove purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and add the cream and sherry. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add sprigs of freshwater crest for garnish and serve.
- Serves 4
Rosemary Chicken, Avocado and Bacon Salad
- 4 pieces thick slab bacon, diced
- 2 chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons rosemary needles, minced
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- 1 large avocado
- 1 head romaine
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- Rosemary Vinaigrette
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- kosher salt
- In a heavy skillet, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until it is crispy. Set aside.
- Salt the chicken thighs. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the rosemary to the pan. Add the chicken thighs to the pan.
- Cook the chicken thighs over medium-high heat until they were golden and crispy and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile assemble the salad. Combine a bed of romaine and watercress in your bowl or on a platter. Top with cherry tomatoes, red onion, and crispy bacon.
- Slice the avocado, sprinkle the avocado with kosher salt. And pile them on the salad.
- Slice the chicken and pile that on the salad.
- Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the rosemary vinaigrette ingredients and seasoning to taste with kosher salt. Dress the salad and serve immediately.