Vichyssois is a thick, cold soup that, despite its very French name, was probably invented in the U.S. early in the 20th century. The hearty, but cooling, soup, which typically includes leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock, is a perfect dish to serve either as a main course for a light summer dinner or as a starter. Variations of vichyssoise often include corn, asparagus, zucchini or other vegetables, in addition to potatoes, and health-conscious versions (like this one) are often lightened, using milk or yogurt instead of cream.
Even though it's wonderful to eat on a hot day, wait for a cooler spell to make it. The 30 minute simmer can heat things up, inside.
|Corn Off the Cob|
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 ears shucked corn, kernels cut from cobs, cobs reserved
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup milk
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (juice from about half of a lemon)
- 3 full sprigs of thyme
- 4 tablespoons yogurt for garnish (optional)
|Thyme, Lemon, Garlic|
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they turn an opaque, light brown, about 10 minutes.
Add corn kernels, reserved cobs, potato, garlic, stock and water. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes.
|Cobs and Stock|
Remove and discard corn cobs. Remove pot from heat. Mix the leaves from two sprigs of thyme into the soup, keeping one sprig in reserve. Allow soup to sit and cool for 10 minutes.
Add milk. Then, using an immersion blender (stick blender), purée soup until very smooth.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids.* Note that straining will take some time, since the soup is very thick. Pour small amounts into the strainer at a time and stir the soup, using a spoon to press against the strainer until liquids and solids separate.
* If, like me, you hate throwing anything out, try using the strained-out corn solids in corn bread and corn pudding.
|The Not-So-Appetizing-Looking Corn Solids|
Chill soup until cold. If it's too thick for your tastes, thin with additional milk or broth.
Stir in lemon juice. Adjust salt, if necessary.
To serve, spoon into individual bowls and top with a tablespoon of plain yogurt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 of a section torn from the reserved thyme sprig.