A hot Vichyssoise with mustard and Parmesan
Do read through, it's a very simple recipe and often how I write my recipes on Instagram. I enjoy the casual tone. Do you, or would you prefer a more conventional ingredients and method layout?
A classic Vichyssoise (though the fact that this is served hot means that in theory, I should call it a Leek and Potato Soup and do without the poetry of the French name), made with attention to detail.
This is such a simple classic that I wouldn’t blame you for bunging everything in a pot, boiling it all to pulp and blitzing the whole lot smooth. But taking a little longer pays dividends. This generously for two:
Slit 4 slender leeks top to bottom and rinse thoroughly to release dirt. Trim off the green part and pop into a largish pan containing about a litre of water. Add to this a bay leaf, a chopped stalk from the pale heart of celery, a small peeled onion, a garlic clove or two, salt and white (important) pepper. The soup needs to remain pale.
Bring to the boil and let simmer while you get on with the rest - which is to warm a spoonful (20g) of butter in a large frying pan and into it, to add a small, peeled potato (about 100g), chopped small and the thinly sliced white part of the leeks.
Add a couple of cloves of sliced garlic, the chopped white part of a bulbous spring onion (or any other white allium), salt, pepper (again white).
Let soften on a soft flame, slowly adding ladles of what’s turning into a stock in the pan next to you. 15 to 20 minutes later, the leek will be butter soft, the potatoes too and the stock all used up. Nothing to stop you eating it just like this but I prefer my soups velvet - think velouté.
So blend smooth as poss. You can, if you’d like to, dress this up, add a thin swirl of oil at this point - olive, hazelnut or truffle.
Before serving though, there are three more little things to do: whisk a few spoonfuls of cream to peaks and season with salt and if you like, a little extremely finely minced garlic. Finely shred a little cheese and finely, very finely chop a fistful of chives.
Pour soup into 2 bowls. Use two spoons to scoop a quenelle of cream into each and camouflage under a shower of the chopped chives. A snow of grated cheese. Only at this stage, do I suggest a grind or two of black pepper!