In most of the country, it’s hotter than blazes, which means it’s a good time to make something light and cool for dinner. Our local newspaper, the other day, gave me a perfect idea: Viccyssoise.
It was mentioned in an AP article about Julia Child, which seem to be everywhere coincident with the hype surrounding the book and newly released movie, Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep as the indomitable Mrs. Childs. The article focused on three kitchen utensils Julia felt were mandatory in the kitchen: the crepe pan, the whisk, and the food mill, each with a recipe for using the item. The latter, of course, she used for making Vichyssoise, which on a hot summer day sounded pretty darned tempting.
OK, clearly not real vichyssoise, since it’s potato-based and thus too filled with easily digested potato starch (read glucose) to be of much use to those of us who keep a lid on the carbs. But a nice chilled low-carb version and some slices of cold grilled chicken over butter lettuce and tomatoes drizzled with a tangy lime and fresh rosemary vinaigrette. Now you’re talking!
So I set about to pimp Julia’s recipe. In it were cooked peeled potatoes, leeks, chicken stock, salt, heavy cream, white pepper and minced fresh chives. Really not much but the potatoes that had to go, which can most easily be replaced by cauliflower or celery root.
I chose cauliflower, since unless you get a very fresh celery root, you’re going to run into the possibility of some woody bits, which would really spoil the delicate and velvety puree.
Begin by making a double batch of Creamy Cauliflower Puree , about which I’ve posted before. (Scroll down a bit in that blog post for the recipe.) If you have more than you need, great; it keeps in the fridge well for use as the side dish that it is, just heated in the microwave.
Low Carb Vichyssoise
Serves 6 to 8
3 cups Creamy Cauliflower Puree
3 cups sliced leeks, white parts only
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock or broth
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream (organic if possible)
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Sour cream garnish, if desired
1. In a 3 to 4 quart saucepan, over medium high heat, simmer the leeks in the stock with a ittle salt for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the leeks are tender.
2. Place the leeks and some of the stock into a blender and puree.
3. Return the pureed leeks to the remaining stock in the pan, add the Creamy Cauliflower Puree, add the cream until you get the consistency you desire, and stir well to combine.
4. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and the white pepper.
5. If you’re a real stickler for a perfectly smooth soup, pass the puree through a fine mesh strainer. (I am not usually so picky, but it’s a nice touch if you’ve got the time.)
6. Chill thoroughly, up to overnight.
7. When ready to serve, ladle into chilled bowls, garnish with a sprinkling of chives and a dollop of fresh sour cream, if you like.
Cool as the ‘Tom Brady’ side of the pillow!
(My fellow NFL fans will understand the inversion of the overworked allusion (cliche) that one particular ESPN talking sports head uses (over and over and over) to describe the degree of coolth, calmth, and collection under pressure of the storied New England Patriots’ QB, who returns this season from the disabled list.)