Cream Vichyssoise Glacee

I know, it's been a damp, raining, chilly spring, and the rapture didn't happen, and you're all bummed out. But, guess what, pretty soon the hazy, lazy days of summer will be upon us. And what better way to celebrate summer (besides hot dogs and baseball) than with cold soup? That's right, "cold soup," as in that classic dish, vichyssoise (pronounced "Vihsh-ee-SWAHZ").  Also, an added note,the fabled vichyssoise is an American dish. Not French. It's a creamy potato-leek soup that's served cold; and its creator was Chef Louis Diat of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City. Chef Diat conjured up the dish in 1917.

Still, we must give the French credit since the soup most likely evolved from the leek and potato soup very popular to France, potage bonne teme. In his tome, Cooking a la Ritz, Diat himself states that the name of the soup comes from Vichy, the French town near his childhood home. He calls it Cream Vichyssoise Glacee. Vichyssoise has entered the lexicon along with such nuggets as chicken tetrazzini, egg foo young, and English muffin (another American novelty). Vichyssoise is also very easy to prepare with a blender or food processor. If you desire, you can use scallions instead of leeks. In my version, I like to add cayenne pepper to it instead of ground black pepper. Either way, you can't go wrong with Mr. Diat's creation.

CREAM VICHYSSOISE GLACEE

2 leeks, white part, finely sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons sweet butter
2 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth or stock

1 cup milk1 cup light cream
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
Finely chopped chives (optional)

1. In a saucepan, gently saute the leeks and onion in butter until soft, about 8 minutes. Do NOT let them brown.
2. Add potatoes, chicken broth or stock, milk, light cream, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low heat for 30-35 minutes.
3. Puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Let cool, and stir in the heavy cream. Chill thoroughly before serving. If you prefer, you can add finely chopped chives before serving.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.
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