Watercress soup with Porthilly oysters and smoked oil

Watercress soup with Porthilly oysters and smoked oil

British Seafood
David Loftus

Watercress and oysters work so well together and here smoked oil adds another amazing taste dimension. If you haven’t time to prepare the oil, then use a good-quality olive oil or even my lemon oil. You can also use rocket in place of watercress, or a mixture of spinach and watercress or rocket if you like.


Quantity Ingredient
8 oysters, shucked, juices retained, (see note)
light rapeseed oil, for cooking
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled, green germ removed, and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 litre Vegetable stock
2 large bunches watercress, washed, leaves only
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Smoked oil, to serve


  1. Heat a medium saucepan and add a good drizzle of rapeseed oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute, without colouring. Add the sliced potato and then pour on enough of the vegetable stock to cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the potato is cooked. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender.
  2. Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil. Now add the watercress and fry briefly until just wilted. Add the watercress to the blender and blitz for 3 minutes or until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Unless serving straight away, chill the soup over ice to retain its vivid green colour.
  3. When ready to serve, pour the watercress soup base into a pan, add the reserved oyster juices and enough of the remaining stock to give the required consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Heat through gently.
  4. Divide the soup between 4 warmed bowls. Add the oysters and finish each serving with a drizzle of smoked oil to serve.

Opening oysters

  • I find an oyster knife isn’t the best implement for shucking an oyster unless you’ve one with a small blade; I prefer a sturdy butter-knife-sized knife.

    Hold the oyster flat side up in a folded tea towel (for protection), in one hand. Insert the knife into the hinge of the oyster and wiggle at the hinge, using a little force, until you hear a popping sound and it yields. Run the knife along the roof of the flat side to cut the attaching muscle and release the oyster from the top shell. Using the same knife, carefully cut away the same muscle from the bottom shell and flip the oyster over in the shell, being careful to retain all the juices. The oyster is now ready.
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