304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Vichyssoise is a classic French soup made of puréed leeks, potatoes, and cream. According to the Larousse Gastronomique, it was created in 1917 by Louis Diat, chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City, who named it after the spa town of Vichy in France where he was born. The soup is usually served cold and topped with chives.
Caviar refers to salt-cured fish eggs from the Acipenseridae family of fish. The two most popular types of caviar are beluga caviar from beluga sturgeons and sevruga caviar from Russian sturgeons. Caviar is known for its smooth, salty flavor and the way the eggs pop in your mouth. Due to overfishing, caviar is rare and expensive.
Combining these two luxurious ingredients, vichyssoise and caviar, makes for an elegant starter course. The saltiness of the caviar balances nicely with the cool, velvety soup. Follow these instructions to make this delicious pairing.
Peel and dice 2 pounds of russet or Yukon gold potatoes. The starch from these varieties results in a rich, creamy soup base.
Trim and thinly slice the white and pale green parts of 3 large leeks. Leeks need to be cleaned thoroughly as soil often gets caught between layers.
Use 6 cups of homemade or low-sodium chicken broth. Chicken stock provides a savory backbone to balance the vegetal notes of the soup.
Add 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream with 40% milk fat. The higher fat content contributes to the signature velvety texture.
Whisk in 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces. Butter gives depth of flavor and further enriches.
Salt and pepper are essential for seasoning. Taste as you go to adjust amounts.
3 tablespoons of fresh chives, minced, for garnish. Bright green chives complement the white soup.
Garnish bowls with 2 ounces of top-quality caviar, preferably Ossetra or Sevruga. Good caviar has a salty pop.
Clean leeks thoroughly, trimming away dark green tops. Slice leeks in half lengthwise then thinly slice into half moons. Peel potatoes and dice into 1/2-inch cubes.
In a large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook leeks for 3-4 minutes until softened. Then add potatoes, chicken stock and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.
Working in batches, transfer soup to blender then purée until completely smooth. Pass soup through a fine mesh strainer back into pot, pressing down on solids. This ensures ultrasmooth texture.
Return strained soup to low heat. Gradually whisk in heavy cream and remaining butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Allow vichyssoise to cool to room temperature then transfer to refrigerator to chill completely, at least 4 hours. Proper chilling is vital.
Ladle chilled soup into bowls. Top each serving with 1/2 ounce of caviar and minced chives. Enjoy immediately before soup warms.
Splurge on top graded caviar and premium heavy cream for best flavor. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes have a high starch content which translates into a lush, creamy base. Look for leeks with crisp white bulbs.
Allow potatoes to cook thoroughly so they perfectly dissolve into soup. Blending while hot followed by straining ensures there are no stubborn bits. This silkiness allows the caviar to shine.
Because the soup is served cold, it must be fully chilled, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. If served too warm, the delicate flavors become muddled and caviar texture alters.
For stunning presentation, serve vichyssoise in rounded bowls with caviar placed in center. Sprinkle minced chives over soup and caviar right before serving so they hold their vibrant color. Accompany with mother of pearl caviar spoons.
As mentioned earlier, vichyssoise was invented in America by Chef Louis Diat in 1917 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City. Diat was originally from Vichy, France which inspired the soup’s name. Vichy water is a naturally carbonated mineral water from the Vichy springs. It is speculated Diat added “Vichy”-inspired carbonation to the soup which resulted in its delicate and refreshing taste. The soup quickly became popular with Americans and a staple in French restaurants across the United States in the mid 20th century.
There are many creative riffs on classic vichyssoise:
Combining caviar with the simple, velvety base of vichyssoise may seem unexpected, however the pairing is synergistic. The exquisite saltiness of caviar beautifully cuts through and balances the rich creaminess. The smooth cool soup allows the briny popping caviar pearls to take center stage. When making such refined, luxurious food, the quality of a few exceptional ingredients shines over complex fussiness. Topping vichyssoise with caviar only elevates this already elegant soup into a showstopping dish.
Buttery, velvety vichyssoise has enough body to stand up to wines while the saltiness of caviar refreshes the palate. Classic pairings include:
So for an elegant starter to a summer dinner party, comfort food turned luxurious, try this rich, classic soup topped with those distinctive salty pearls of caviar. The velvety base is the perfect foil for those delicate popping eggs. Use high quality ingredients and properly chill to let the flavors shine.