As we move from the cool evenings of Spring into the lingering heat of Summer evenings, we want something to cool us off at dinnertime. A chilled soup is the perfect solution. Traditionally, vichyssoise is made with potato, but this recipe demotes the potato and shines the spotlight on fresh asparagus.
There appears to be quite the controversy regarding the origins of vichyssoise – French or American? You can read the full details on Wikepedia. They note that the temperature of the soup has been used as comic relief in several television shows and movies. For example, when the curmudgeon Archie Bunker, from All in the Family, is served a bowl of vichyssoise, he takes a spoonful and blows hard on it. After tasting it, he say, “Boy, this soup is cold, and I hardly blew on it at all.” By the way, if any one of you asks me who Archie Bunker is, I’m going to have to hang you upside down by your toes. Actually, just come play a round of Trivial Pursuit with me. If I know more of the answers, at least I’ll feel better about being older than you.
This recipe is straight from the pages of the June 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. Now, they say that this recipe should serve 4 people. However, those would definitely be appetizer servings only. If you would like to serve this as the main part of the meal, double the recipe.
Thinly slice the leek and cut a russet or red-skinned (3 oz) potato into 1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup of diced potato).
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a heavy large saucepan.
Add the leek and potato and saute for 2 minutes.
Add 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth.
Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cover.
Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Cut 18-20 oz of asparagus into 1-inch pieces. You should have about 3 cups of asparagus.
Add the asparagus to the leek mixture and simmer, uncovered, until the asparagus is just tender, about 5-6 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and set aside 8 asparagus tips to use a garnish.
In a food processor or blender, puree the soup. Do this in batches, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the soup into a bowl and chill.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup whipping cream, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp finely minced mint. Whisk until the cream is slightly thickened.
Ladle the soup into bowls and spoon a dollop of the whipping cream onto the soup. If you’re feeling fancy, drag a toothpick or skewer through the cream for a restaurant-like effect.
Garnish with the asparagus tips and serve.
In a small bowl, combine whipping cream, a pinch of salt, and finely minced mint. Whisk until the cream is slightly thickened. Ladle the soup into bowls and spoon a dollop of the whipping cream onto the soup. Garnish with the asparagus tips and serve.