Watercress Salad–Soup with Smoked Duck Breast and Ginger
6 to 8 cups canned low–sodium chicken broth or Real Broth for a Too–Busy Cook (page 106)
2 garlic cloves, grated
A 1-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled
1 smoked duck breast (8 to 10 ounces), or 8 to 10 ounces cooked chicken, duck, or pork, shredded
3 bunches watercress, tough stems removed, rinsed and shaken dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roasted sesame oil or Chinese Many–Flavor Oil (page 52) for drizzling (optional)
Heat the broth, fortifying it with the flavorings and bones, if desired. In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth and garlic. Simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the ginger lengthwise as thin as possible. Stack the slices and cut them lengthwise into thin slivers. Add the ginger and simmer 5 minutes longer.
While the broth is heating, assemble the embellishments. If using the duck, peel the fatty skin off the duck breast. Slice the skin into thin strips. Place it in a small heavy skillet and cook, covered, over moderately low heat until the skin is crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the breast. Cut the stems off the watercress, leaving a bunch of leaves and tender stems. (Reserve the tougher stems to stir–fry, if desired.) Divide the watercress among 4 deep soup bowls.
Heat the duck, and any other elements that need to be cooked, in the broth. Reduce the heat to very low. Add the duck (or other meat) and cook until it is just heated through, about1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble the soup in the bowls. With a slotted spoon, arrange the duck in the bowls, along with a few strips of crisp skin; pour the broth over. If desired, drizzle some sesame oil or a little of the melted duck fat over the soup. Serve at once.
Copyright© 2006 by Sally Schneider. Used by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form whatsoever or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of William Morrow.