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Watercressed Apple Soup

Delicate and unusual as a cold soup--appetite-stimulant to a fresh autumn meal (roast pork or chicken!) as a hot soup--this contribution from my good friend Judy Irons (and her friend Nan) is an excellent first course in any season. Serve hot or cold to 4-6 people.

Garnish: A spoonful of heavy cream dribbled through each serving

Saute the onion and apple in the butter until soft. Stir in the watercress, stock, and tarragon. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Puree in a blender, solids first. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in cream.

If serving cold, chill for at least 3 hours--and remember to slightly overseason with salt.

If serving hot, return to saucepan to reheat--then ladle into bowls when ready to serve.

Garnish with cream by dribbling a spoonful across the top of each bowl in a design of your choice.