by James Peterson
Smooth, creamy, and cold, classic French vichyssoise is the perfect hot-weather soup. And it’s so easy to make, it should be in every cook’s recipe box. The technique is straightforward: Leeks and potatoes are simmered in milk and then puréed in a blender. The challenge is to get the smoothest, silkiest texture possible—because that’s what vichyssoise is all about.
Need to Know
Four essential tips for perfect texture
1. Choose the right potatoes.
With their rich flavor and medium starch content, Yukon Gold potatoes are the best choice. Russets are too starchy and can make the soup mealy, while waxy potatoes like Red Bliss can turn it gluey and gelatinous.
2. Purée in a blender.
For the absolute finest texture, purée in a regular blender; an immersion (hand) blender won’t give you as smooth a result.
3. Strain well.
The simple utensils needed for
vichyssoise are essential
to any well-stocked kitchen:
• 4-quart pot
To get rid of any residual coarseness, strain the soup through a fine sieve, using the back of a spoon or ladle to push the soup through (as shown in the photo below).
4. Add water.
If the soup is too thick, add a little cold water to thin it before serving. The consistency should be that of
To clean a leek:
Leeks grow with soil piled around them, so grit and dirt accumulate between their layers. To clean a leek thoroughly, trim the root end and cut off the dark-green top. Then, slit the leek lengthwise, without cutting allthe way through. Open it like a book and hold it root end up under cold running water, riffling through the layers until it is completely clean.
Recipe: Classic Vichyssoise
Photos: Scott Phillips
This chilled potato-leek soup is an elegant summer classic.