We love the cool creaminess of traditional potato-leek vichyssoise, especially on humid summer days like we've been getting. So when Elizabeth mentioned an Epicurious recipe for arugula vichyssoise in her Top 5 Uses For Arugula Besides Salad, we couldn't get it out of our heads! The idea of adding peppery arugula sounded to delicious to resist. We found a big bunch of arugula in last week's CSA and knew exactly how we would use it... The base of this recipe is a traditional vichyssoise combination of leeks and potatoes, simmered in broth. We were making this to share with some vegetarian friends, so we decided to go with a vegetable broth base instead of chicken. Following the steps and cooking times in the recipe was easy as pie. Grating the potato sped up the cooking time significantly--they only took about 10 minutes to cook through. Total prep and cooking time was about a half hour. Be sure to puree the soup for the full two minutes (and then some) that the recipe recommends. After a minute, our soup was still grainy. One more minute and it had transformed into a silky smooth, vibrant green sauce. Our only adaptations came in the flavorings. The recipe only calls for salt and pepper to taste, so we added 1/4 teaspoon or so of freshly grated nutmeg and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten things up. The three tablespoons of heavy cream give the whole dish a roundness and melds the flavors together, without which the soup tastes quite peppery and herbaceous. Try it both ways and see which one you like better! A few quick notes:
- To figure out how much arugula to buy, 2 cups of packed arugula equals about 3 ounces.
- Food taste different when it's served hot or cold. For this recipe, we recommend salting lightly while the soup is cooking, but waiting until it's about room temperature to season to taste.
- This recipe makes a relatively small amount--about 2 cups, which is enough for two people as a side dish or starter. You should be able to double or triple the recipe with no problem to serve more people.
- A hard cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino would go really well with this soup, either sprinkled over the top before serving or even pureed into the soup after it's cold (or else it will melt and the texture of the soup will change)