There are two components to tonight’s dinner, a Mediterranean salad and a French soup. There is some question as to whether vichyssoise is a French or American creation. Potato and leek soup served hot has been around in France since potatoes became popular in Europe. But was it the Americans who came up with the cold version? Who knows!
My Mediterranean salad consists of Romaine lettuce, cucumber chunks, our abundant orange cherry tomatoes, olives, feta, and oil and vinegar. In Italy you are never given a recitation of salad dressings to choose from. Plopped down on the table is a set of oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. Dress your own salad!
Going through my vegetable drawer in the fridge I notice two leeks, two potatoes, and a half an onion. It is my inspiration for vichyssoise and I make the soup first thing this morning while it is still cool. I will post a recipe here but everything is approximate. After cooking my soup and blending it, the color is a lovely creamy white. I chill it until dinner and garnish with thyme and chives.
Ingredients approximate. Serves 4
1 tsp. butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned thoroughly and sliced into rings
2 peeled russet potatoes, diced
2-3 cups chicken stock, enough to cover vegetables
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
Fresh herbs for garnish
Melt butter in oil. Add onions. Season lightly. Cook over low heat until translucent. Add leeks and potatoes. Season lightly again. Cook vegetables together for a few minutes. Add chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to boil. Lower to simmer. Simmer for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. I covered it partially during the simmer. Let cool somewhat. Stir in milk and cream. I used a stick blender to purée the soup but I think a blender probably would have worked better. Adjust seasoning (it needs quite a bit of salt.) Chill. Serve cold with an herb of your choice.