Summertime, and sometimes it’s just too darned hot out to eat a hot meal. Soup and salad makes a great combination, especially if it’s a creamy cold soup that you’ve made in advance, and only needs to be poured from a pitcher in the fridge into bowls!
Vichyssoise is an adaptable cold soup. The original recipe calls for using leeks, those long mild onions Welshmen wear on St. David’s Day, but I’ve modified vichyssoise to use whatever interesting fresh greens are at the market. Mid-May, that means wild ramps. End of June or early July, the farmers are trimming the scapes off the garlic to ensure they get big fat bulbs at harvest time. Over the last few years, their popularity has grown at farmers’ markets.
Here’s my recipe for garlic scape vichyssoise.
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken stock
1-1/4 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered (that will be 3-4 potatoes)
4oz by weight garlic scapes, cut into pieces about 1″ long
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4oz whipping cream
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and sweat the onion until it’s transparent.
Add the chicken broth and salt, and bring to a boil.
Add the potatoes and scapes; when the water starts boiling again, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour, until the potatoes are cooked and the ramps are tender.
Add nutmeg and white pepper and remove from heat.
After it has cooled a little, blend with an immersion blender, or put it in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Add whipping cream and stir well to incorporate, then chill for a few hours before serving.
If the soup thickens too much when it is cold, add some milk to thin it to a nice cream soup consistency. Check the seasoning, and adjust to taste.
Garnish with dots of white truffle oil, squiggles of creme fraiche, fresh herbs, or edible flower petals.
Serve with a green salad.
Wine pairings: Inniskillin 2010 Riesling-Pinot Grigio ($13.95) or if you’re feeling adventurous, Momokawa Organic Ginjo premium sake ($17.95).
On Pat Anderson’s site you’ll find her writings about food, gardening and photography in her blog, links to photographs that she sells, either as prints on canvas or as manufactured goods, as well as some things that she has fun with, like a little bit of Leslieville history and info about her gardens.