Potato, Rocket and Bread Soup

Here is an Italian soup that deserves to be better known. All year-round supplies of rocket can be achieved by regular sowings of rocket between February and October.


  • 1 lb (450 g) floury potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • Sea salt
  • 1 large handful rocket, washed and any tough stalks removed
  • 4 slices of stale French or Italian bread
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed


Cover the potatoes with cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10 minutes and then add the rocket. Cook until the potatoes are very soft. Add the bread and stir well.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic for just a few moments. This is to flavour the oil – the garlic is then removed and the oil stirred into the soup.

In the eighteenth century the self-styled Count Rumford (who was born Benjamin Thompson in Massachusetts) attached himself to the Bavarian Elector as a soldier, tackling at the same time the problems of Bavaria’s vast beggar population. Rumford Soup came into existence and this potato and bread soup was alleged to have fed 6,000 people.