Watercress soup with Easter nest
- 2 baking potatoes large
- 6 - 8 quail's eggs
- 2 boxes salad cress
- 2 shallots
- 20 g butter
- 160 g watercress
- 250 g leaf spinach
- 150 g potatoes
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 50 ml single cream
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt ,
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 pinch nutmeg
Heat enough oil in a pot or pan to fry the baskets, about 10 cm deep.
Peel the potatoes. Using a very sharp knife or a julienne slicer, cut them into very thin strips (ca. 2-3mm). Divide into 6 - 8 heaps and proceed to fry in batches. Make sure you cut the potatoes just before frying them, or else they will discolour badly.
Place the potato strips for one basket on a large ladle and hold into the very hot oil, keeping the ladle close enough to the surface for the strips to soften up in the oil, but without "escaping" from your ladle. Fry for about 1 minute, so that the strips become soft and bendable. (If you are using a metal ladle, make sure to wrap the handle in a towel so you don't burn your hands)
Lift ladle with the potato sticks, letting all the oil drip back into the pot, then transfer the potato strips into a heat-resistant (eg metal) sieve of approx. 6-8 cm diameter. Curl the potatoes to form a nest against the mesh of the sieve, leaving a little space in the middle to hold a quail's egg.
Transfer sieve into the hot oil (again, if you have a metal handle, protect yourself against the heat) and fry the nest until the potato strips are coloured a medium brown. (If you undercook them, the potatoes won't crisp.) Lift, let the oil drip down, the use a fork or spoon to carefully lift the nest out of the sieve and onto some paper towel, salt and leave to drain, cool and crisp up.
Cook the quail's eggs in boiling water for 2 minutes, refresh and leave to cool before peeling them very carefully.
For the soup, melt the butter in a pot, fry the shallots until starting to brown. Add the sherry, watercress and spinach (if you have bought it in a bag, you can save space in the pot by microwaving it to package instructions beforehand) and leave to wilt. Placing a lid on top will spead things up a bit. Top with the vegetable stock and diced potatoes and cook until the potatoes are very soft, ca. 10 minutes.
Purée the soup using a hand-held blender, stir in the cream, then season to taste with the salt & pepper, nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce. If the soup is too thin, reduce to desired consistency.
Assemble the nests by lining the potato baskets with salad cress, then placing a quail's egg each in the nests. Spinkle sparingly with pepper.
Serve the nests in shallow bowls, ladling the soup around the nests at the table.