Cucumber and lettuce vichyssoise
Light, delicate and pretty, this chilled soup – a take on the classic vichyssoise – is a great way to start a summer meal. You can also make a deep green version with spinach instead of the lettuce.
Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks or onion, cover and sweat gently for about 10 minutes, until soft.
Add the potato and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potato is almost cooked. Add the cubed cucumbers and shredded lettuce, return to the boil and simmer for a further 4 minutes.
Fish out the potato chunks and rub them through a sieve, mouli or potato ricer into a large bowl (whizzing them in a blender would make the soup gluey). Purée everything else in a blender, add to the sieved potato and stir well. Stir in the cream or crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper. Leave to cool completely, then chill for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, make the croûtons. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the bread and fry, turning often, for a few minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool.
Serve the chilled soup topped with a swirl of cream or crème fraîche, chopped chives and the croûtons.
- 50g butter
- 2 leeks, trimmed (white and pale green part only), washed and sliced, or 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large, floury potato (about 250g), peeled and cut into large
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and cubed
- 2 Little Gem or butterhead lettuces, washed and shredded
- 3 tablespoons double cream or crème fraîche, plus a little extra
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the croûtons
- 4 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
- 4 slices of bread, crusts removed, cut into cubes
- Chopped chives
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