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24 May 2009

Lettuce Vichyssoise

Lettuce Vichyssoise

My first taste of a lettuce veloute, was in New York, a few weeks ago. I never thought mushy lettuce could blossom in a soup. It was velvety smooth and it felt strange that it tasted so well. And I suppose why not we use a lot of different greens we eat in salads to make soups too.

So, as soon as I got home, I ventured into the kitchen in an effort to re-create something similar. With the weather finally nearing pleasant temperatures, I levitated towards something chilled, and as rocket is one of my favorite leaves, I had to include it.

I followed the basic rules for making a soup; first I sautéed the aromatics like onions, garlic and then added a bit of potato for texture and body. I boiled it all in a fresh vegetable stock before finally adding the lettuce, rocket and tarragon. The rocket adds a lovely peppery undertone while I find tarragon to be a beautiful accompaniment to potatoes and salads. As you know, lettuce and rocket are rather fragile and wilt easily and so I thought adding them at the end will help retain their flavour. As this is going to be a chilled soup, I chose olive oil over butter, as butter solidifies at room temperature (not that I used enough for it to matter).

Another good thing to note in these credit crunch times is that lettuce soup is an extremely affordable delicacy. Best of all, it’s a great make ahead recipe, just take it out of the fridge and give it another blitz with a hand blender before serving.

Lettuce Vichyssoise
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, finely chopped
  • 500ml/17 fl oz/ 2 cups good quality vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 280g/10 oz lettuce (baby gem)
  • 25g or a handful of rocket leaves
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
  • A dollop of labneh

Instructions
  1. Place a deep heavy-based pan over medium heat add the olive oil and heat through slightly then add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté together for another 2 minutes
  3. and then add the potatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes
  4. Pour in the broth and throw in a bay leaf and bring it all to a boil and then let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  5. Add the lettuce and rocket leaves and let it cook, covered for a further 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and then using a hand blender blitz it all to a puree. Add a dollop of labneh and let it sit to cool for about 1 hour before placing it in the fridge. It will need
  6. -3 hours of chilling.

 

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9 thoughts on “Lettuce Vichyssoise

  1. I didn’t think I’d be interested in a lettuce soup either, but this looks quite appetizing and hearty (I might prefer it hot, though 🙂 I love the beautiful color.

  2. Just beautiful! And I find it amazing that something so inexpensive can be so elegant. I love this kind of soup and must start making cold soups.

  3. your soup looks so elegant. i’ve had lettuce in soups but not pureed like how you did it… hmnn. i’m so intrigued. the combo of lettuce-arugula and tarragon sounds like a winner.

  4. i was soo craving soup the other day! the tradewinds have left maui its a perfect time for cold soup. yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum!

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