Sunday, August 11, 2013

Asparagus Vichyssoise: Enjoyed Cold (or Warm) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Although meant to be served cold and perfect for a warm summer day, this green and lovely Asparagus Vichyssoise is perfectly satisfying served warm on a cool and rainy summer night. Good if your family/house guests tell you they prefer warm soup! ;-) 
This one is from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi or a close variation can be found here on the Ottolenghi website.

Ottolenghi says, "The ideal time for making my cold soup is toward the end of asparagus season, in the early summer, when the spears are often thick and woody and not good enough to eat as they are. Serve with crusty bread dipped in olive oil.

Asparagus Vichyssoise 
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Makes 4 Servings)

1 medium potato
2 medium leeks
1 lb asparagus
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups good-quality vegetable stock
1 tsp sugar
salt and white pepper
3 Tbsp heavy cream

6 Tbsp Greek yogurt
grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Peel the potato and dice roughly. Chop off and discard the tough green ends of the leeks. Cut through the pale center, then wash and slice roughly. Trim off and discard the woody base of the asparagus . Cut all but three of the spears into 3/4-inch pieces, keeping the tips separate. Reserve the whole spears.

Place all of the vegetables, except for the asparagus tips, with the butter in a medium saucepan and sauté on medium heat for about four minutes, taking care they don't take on any color. Cover the vegetables with stock, add sugar and some salt and white pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. At the end of this time add the asparagus tips and continue cooking for 10 minutes. 

Once done, blitz the soup well in a blenderuntil very smooth. Gently fold in the cream and half the yogurt. Allow the soup to come to room temperature, then chill. 

While the soup is cooling down, bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the reserved asparagus for 2 minutes; drain and refresh under plenty of cold water. Shred.

To serve: Pour the cold soup into bowls. Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top of each and swirl with the tip of a skewer. Place the shredded asparagus in the center and garnish with lemon zest.

Notes/Results:More proof that a bowl of delicious soup can be made from a few simple ingredients. The asparagus adds a nice touch to a basic potato and leek soup. If you wanted to make it vegan, you change to olive oil or non-dairy butter substitute and you could leave out the heavy cream entirely (I used coconut milk non-dairy creamer) as the soup is creamy enough from the potato, and omit the Greek yogurt (although it adds a nice tangy flavor) or sub in a non-dairy yogurt. Since my brother and his wife are visiting, I let them decide how they wanted to eat the soup and their pick was warm, with egg salad sandwiches--which worked out nicely after a long rainy and windy day. I ate the remaining serving the following day--cold and I have to say that I am torn on which way I like it best. It works well both ways. Easy and good, I would make this again.

The theme was "Gorgeously Green" at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week. You can check out all of the Yotam Ottolenghi recipes with green ingredients by following the links on the post.

We have a few soups, a sandwich and plenty of salads waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's go take a look.

A simple green Zucchini-Basil Soup from Sandra of Meadows Cooks. She says, "I discovered a lovely thing and I want to share it with all of you marvelous people. If you buy basil on the root it keeps as if it were planted in the ground... indefinitely. Just place it in a vase of water and you can have fresh basil every night for weeks! Another wonderful discovery for me is this insanely simple, and equally delicious zucchini soup. I found it over at Epicurious and was so stunned by the meager list of ingredients I had to make it."

Mireille of Chef Mireille's Global Creations shares this thick and  creamy Broccoli Mushroom Soup and says, "Complex, deep flavors are achieved by using different mushrooms with different flavors coupled with the smoky flavor of the cheese. By leaving the mushrooms in large pieces, they are "meaty". Even if you are not Vegetarian, try this soup and I promise, you won't be disappointed!"

My pal Heather of girlichef is here with both a soup and a sandwich (down below the salads) this week. Heather's soup is a summer-perfect bowl of Caldo de Camaron y Pescado (Brothy Shrimp and Fish Soup). She says, "Lately I've had the craving for one of my favorite types of Caldos, or Brothy Soups. One swimming (see what I did there) with not only fish, but also shrimp in a broth flavored perfectly with chiles, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Caldos really are my favorite...good and brothy, with lots of chunks just waiting for my spoon to scoop them up!

Joyce of Kitchen Flavours brings Warm Roast Chicken and Bread Salad and says, "This is one delicious salad, the crunchy curly Frillice makes a beautiful salad. The roasted chicken is very tasty with all the marinating ingredients and the bread is so, so, crispy with the slight peppery taste of the roasted chicken since it has been sitting in the same tray with the chicken and it's juices. The raisins are just so yummy. I will definitely make this again, especially so when I have a request from the kids to make this again soon!  A beautiful and tasty salad to serve at the table for a gathering!

Janet of The Taste Space is on a salad roll this week with three wonderful salads to share. First up, Strawberry & Avocado Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette about which she says, "...I used pumpkin seeds. I used sweet strawberries, paired with creamy avocado and a sweet citrus dressing. Since the oranges we got in our share were “juicing oranges” (Valencia, aka sweet Texan oranges!!), I figured a dressing was a good way to capitalize on their sweet juiciness. Since, yes, I left my juicer at home. No homemade juice on the horizon yet.  It may seem fiddly to also add lemon juice, but it balanced the dressing nicely.

Janet's second salad is this pretty Peach, Basil & Hemp Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette. She says, "...Sweet, juicy peaches. I have to remind myself that buying too many is often fool-hardy. Their peak ripeness has a short window. But once they are juicy: pounce. Peaches for breakfast, peaches as a snack and peaches for dinner. Peaches for a salad work so well because they make their own dressing, to boot. I still supplemented it with the nice citrus dressing from earlier in the week, though."

For her final salad masterpiece, Janet shares another take on summery peaches with Peach and Hemp Salad with a Creamy Balsamic Hummus Dressing. She says, "Fresh, flavourful ingredients are important for a salad; but like pasta is to sauce, salad can be a vector for dressing. A simple go-to dressing. With hummus on hand, this is so easy to put together. Hummus, balsamic and mustard. I always taste-test the dressing, but this one was hard to read. As I said, I didn’t really think I’d like it; it seemed too tart. Drizzled next to the sweet peaches, though, it all balanced out."

Brittany of Brittany Cooks offers up Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad and says, "I found this recipe in one of my new favorite cookbooks River Cottage Veg. Guys, I adore this book, and am totally bummed it's nearly overdue at the library. It celebrates vegetables in such a fresh and beautiful way it makes me want to be vegetarian. ... There's a bit more prep then I usually care for in a salad, but the veggies become superstars by the end, making it well worth the effort. Full of delicious seasonal veggies, it's filling and satisfying!"

Heather of girlichef shares her second Souper Sundays entry, this decadent Chicken Parmesan Sandwich and says, "...if you're savvy and keep one eye on the sales flyers, you can save yourself both time and money. And clean-up, I might add. There's not much that I enjoy less than cleaning up after raw chicken. So yes, keep your eyes peeled for those packages of chicken "tenders" and "thinly sliced chicken breast" to go on sale, utilize your freezer, and you're on easy street.

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details. 

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. truly great roundup!

  2. Wow...there are some very appealing dishes in the SS kitchen tonight! I'm loving Heather's soup and sandwich, your asparagus vichyssoise, the hummus dressing...yum, the Ottolenghi chicken and bread salad, and the zucchini-basil soup. I'll take it all! LOL!

    The first thing I noticed when I read over your asparagus vichyssoise was that you didn't change anything;-) Then I read that you used the coconut milk non-dairy creamer and I thought "that's my girl." Ha ha! I always like to read how you change things up. I think I've learned a thing or two from you. Namely when it comes to reducing oil and things like that. I used to blindly follow recipes. Now I think twice. That is definitely a good looking soup. I'd be torn between the warm/cold option as well.

  3. Hah! Yes Kim--you know me too well! ;-) The amounts of dairy and cream in the recipe seemed reasonable for four servings so I didn't bother changing it--but since I didn't have heavy cream on hand, I did throw in the non-dairy creamer.

  4. Thanks for joining in Mireille!

  5. I'm not usually much of a cold soup girl, but I think I'd love this vichyssoise (cold even)! It sounds delicious. Thanks for the delicious roundup :)

  6. Oh my as soon as Spring arrives & I get my mitts on some asparagus I will be making this soup. It looks & sounds just wonderful, warm or cold. Stunning pic too :)

  7. Glad to see everyone back with a fabulous week, Deb. Thanks again for hosting every week. :)

  8. Joyce, kitchen flavoursAugust 12, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    Hi Deb,
    Your asparagus soup looks really delicious! I think that I would slurp on the soup until the last drop!
    And wonderful round-up!
    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  9. I love asparagus soup and with the addition of potatoes and leeks, this recipe sounds like a winner. It looks very pretty too!

  10. Creamy soups like this definitely hit the spot at times! Love that vibrant green from the asparagus!

  11. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)August 13, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    I love love love cold asparagus soup. For some reason, the flavor always seems more vibrant.


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