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Appetizers, Soups, Vegetarian

Cucumber vichyssoise

Cucumber vichyssoise
Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

One of the things that's most important for a cook is to keep an open mind about food and constantly challenge the limitations of our perspectives and prejudices. That's something I had to learn myself as a young chef. Even ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus chilling time for the soup | Makes a scant 2 quarts soup
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots, cut into large dice
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup chopped onions, cut into large dice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, chopped baking potatoes, cut into large dice
  • 1 quart water, or as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 tablespoons mint leaves
  • Salt

Step 1In a large pot, sweat the shallots, leeks and onions in butter until completely soft. Add the diced potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring the water to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream and simmer an additional 20 minutes.

Step 2Transfer the soup in three batches to a blender and puree, adding one tablespoon of creme fraiche to each batch. Once pureed, pass the soup base through a fine chinois into a bowl, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Step 3Taste each cucumber to ensure that there is no bitter flavor. Cut the cucumbers into chunks, combine with mint leaves and then pass through a juicer; you should have at least 1 1/2 cups juice (save any extra for another use). When the soup base is completely chilled, combine it with the 1 1/2 cups cucumber juice and season to taste.

Note: This recipe calls for the use of a chinois, a very fine strainer; chinois are available at cooking and restaurant supply stores, as well as online. This recipe also calls for a juicer; juicers are generally available at home and kitchen supply stores, as well as online (the Test Kitchen tested the recipe using a blender instead of a juicer, and passed the puree through a strainer). Keller suggests serving the soup garnished with basil creme fraiche or cherry tomato confit.


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