Two-toned and delicate, and vaguely related to Leek and Potato, this is an excellent cream soup for a cold winter day, or when your mind lights on a nostalgia for things Northern, a panelled Luebeck rathskeller, say, or a dowdily luxurious Amsterdam salle.
Or perhaps a restaurant like the sprawling and sparsely populated one in Copenhagen’s Tivoli where, one evening long ago, a nine-piece palm court orchestra lit gamely into the Finlandia hymn with such fervor this DC7-lagged tourist couldn’t help weeping into his soup. Such fun! Well, it had been twenty hours from San Francisco, with a stop at Winnipeg then a leisurely drone-and-rattle through the spacious twilight of the North — complete with SAS’s cooked-to-order scrambled eggs served with courtly Nordic precision by the brass-buttoned pursers to one and all.
Such airborne eggs of yesteryear I can scarcely fathom in this era of millennial cattle cars. Now Amtrak, that’s where the proper cooking of an egg is a grave responsibility, a matter of nothing less than kitchen honor. Figure in the fluffy biscuits and you have something close to breakfast heaven, with Lake Erie and its gulls or a Nevada morning at your side.
Break off the flowerets of a medium-sized cauliflower and steam them until they’re almost limp, then reserve ’em. Meanwhile in a large pot soften 1 small chopped onion in a good tablespoon of butter along with 1 small diced red or white potato; add 3/4 of a 49-ounce can of chicken broth — you can freeze the remainder¾bring it to a boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until the potato is done.
In a blender or food processor purée the broth and the cauliflower in batches, adding 1/2 bunch of washed and de-stemmed watercress in the later stages. Re-heat the soup in another pot or saucepan, stirring in 1/4 cup of cream, then serve it with a light sprinkle of grated gruyère, cheddar, dry jack or parmesan cheese. Croutons would not be ill-advised.