Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Vichyssoisse

Lemongrass Cucumber and coriander vichyssoisse with cumin croutons
 (s. tipo de sopa cremosa feita com batata e alho-poró)

Vichyssoise is possibly the best known cold soup in the world, so much so that it has become a preparation method based on a light potato purée paired with any number of other vegetables.My mother made the best Vichyssoisse ever and she used cucumber.
In summer. In the searing summertime heat nothing  is more refreshing than a chilled soup. Leeks which have made this particular soup famous are not at their best at this time of year, so this alternative, in my mind, excels. Its made by using fresh lemongrass.It recalls the potato and leek soup of my childhood which again my mother used to make.I have fond memories of how, when English summers were summers, my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk, and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for our summertime guests here at Casa Rosada.This classic cold soup also has it stories.According to Jean Vitaux and Benoît’s “Dictionnaire du Gastronome”, Vichyssoise was invented by Louis Diat in 1910 when the terrace of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York was opened. Its origin was probably a common French recipe that he used, adapted and served cold.So why is it that neither Escoffier in his 1921 “Guide Culinaire” nor even the 1939 edition of the Larousse mention it? And, what’s more, it isn’t mentioned in the 1962 “Dictionnaire de l’Académie des Gastronomes”. Maria Lucia Gomensoro, in her “Diccionário de Gastronomia”(“Small Dictionary of Gastronomy”, confirms 1910 as being the date of the invention of Vichyssoise, but does not know the name of the creator, who may have been an "immigrant French chef".Setting aside its jolly provenance here is my recipe....

Cucumber lemongrass and coriander vichyssoisse
4 large stalks of Lemongrass 
4 spring onions finely chopped
50g (2oz) fresh coriander leaves,separated from their stalks
1large onion chopped
500g (1lb)new potatoes,cleaned,scraped and diced small
1 large cucumber 
2oz (50g) unsalted butter
1 litre (1.75 pints) chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
125ml single cream
salt and pepper ( to taste)
Trim the roots and the tough outer skins from the lemongrass, then chop it very finely.
Trim and chop the spring onions.Save the peelings and trimmings from the lemongrass and spring onions and put them in a saucepan together with the coriander stalks, add 1 litre (1.75 pints )of salted water and simmer covered for one hour to make a stock.To make the soup,melt the butter in a large pan, then add the chopped lemongrass, onions and potatoes.Cook gently over a low heat for 15 minutes.Add the stock through a sieve and cook for a further 30 minutes.Allow the soup to cool and then blitz it in a food processor with the remaining coriander and spring onions or with a hand blender.Cover and chill completely before serving.garnish with a sprig of coriander.

1 comment:

  1. Genius! Funnily enough I had this one bookmarked for when the weather warmed up a bit (or quite a lot!). So your Guardian post was a thankful reminder. Cheers!

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