by Stephanie Jane Carter
“But in summer, when the soup seemed to be too hot, we asked for milk for which to cool it. Many years later, it was this inspiration to make the soup which I have named Creme Vichyssoise.” (Louis Diat 1885-1957)
When the French-born chef, Louis Diat, was the chef at the Ritz Carlton in New York, he remembered a pureed potato soup served to him by his mother in his hometown, a village near Vichy in France. Served hot, he often asked for milk to cool the soup. From this concept, Diat created one of our most well-known soups, cold and refreshing Vichyssoise.
In this version, we have added another item that says summer to us, the avocado. We find the flavor refreshing and surprising and we hope you do too.
2 leeks, trimmed, washed, and thinly sliced*
1/8 cup unsalted butter
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
6 cups water
1 bouquet garni (2-3 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf)
Salt, to taste
3 medium avocados, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche
1/4 cup chopped chives
1. Sweat the leeks in the butter and a pinch of salt. Allow them to soften without developing color.
2. Add the potatoes and the water and another sprinkling of salt.
3. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
4. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
5. Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup.
6. Let soup chill thoroughly.
7. Add the avocados to the soup and puree until smooth.
8. Just before serving, add the lime juice and stir to incorporate.
9. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of chives.
*Normally, with a vichyssoise, one would only use the white parts of the leeks so that the soup could remain white. However, this is not necessary in this version since the end product is green due to the addition of the avocados.