Bon Appétit Series Background Recap: I was tired of reading their magazine each month, saying, “Oh that looks great, I’ll make that”, then the magazine ends up in the cupboard or trash, never to been seen again. Never more! Now I’m holding myself publicly accountable; each month I will cook at least one recipe from Bon Appétit and post it on here.
In a relatively amazing showing of consistency, today’s post is the seventh Bon Appétit dish that I’ve completed. The time goes by so fast, it really is easy to quickly browse all the cookbooks and magazines I buy, and never cook a single dish from them. I’m glad I didn’t skip the June issue, because I found a wonderful cold soup for summer – Asparagus Vichyssoise with Mint.
Vichyssoise is a soup traditionally made with leeks and potatoes as the vegetable foundation, but similar to gazpacho, a quick search will turn up countless variations of the dish – heavy cream, no cream, carrots, arugula, green garlic, and of course, asparagus. Unlike a gazpacho, a vichyssoise is a cooked soup that is subsequently chilled, whereas a gazpacho is prepared raw and uncooked. Knowledge!
You get this party started by chopping the asparagus into 1-2” pieces, slicing the leeks, then cubing the potatoes. There are a very small amount of potatoes in this recipe compared to most vichyssoise. There also isn’t any heavy cream incorporating during the cooking process, though we add a cream garnish/topping at the end.
Sauté the leeks and potatoes in butter. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the aroma of leeks in butter > shallots in butter. And I love shallots in butter.
After a few minutes, add your chicken stock. I still have some homemade stock left from the last time I fried chicken.
The top goes on and the veggies cook for a few minutes, then add the asparagus. I cooked these thin asparagus for five minutes.
The soup is transferred to a blender in batches and pureed until smooth. It took me three batches to complete.
At that point, your soup is ready to chill. If you need it to chill quickly, break the soup down into a few bowls and throw it in the freezer. If you have some time like I did, you can put it in the refrigerator, but it will take a couple of hours for the soup to get to the appropriate temperature.
When you are ready to serve, it’s time to prepare the cream. I minced some mint and whipped it up with heavy cream and salt.
I probably whipped it a little thicker than intended, but I actually liked the thick texture, and it helped to hold up the asparagus tip garnish.
I drank a Hitachino Redrice beer with the soup. I already mentioned this beer after my visit to Repast, but it deserves another shout out.
The soup was better than expected. While the color isn’t exactly pleasing to me, the texture was spot-on, and the asparagus/leek/potato flavors were perfectly in balance. I could taste the contribution of each individual component, though none were overpowering. The mint cream brightened up each bite, adding just a hint of depth, while still maintaining a healthy edge over the often cream-heavy traditional vichyssoise.
Also deserving of a shout out from this meal – my mom. The salad I made before I ate the soup had some quality ingredients that she brought back to me from Europe. The vinaigrette had some olive oil from Italy and Sichuan pepper mustard from Paris, and I added a few drops of 25 year balsamic vinegar, also from Italy, to my final plating.
May you never get so old that you parents stop bringing you “toys” back from their trips.