Watercress Vichyssoise is a Refreshing Companion to Your Favorite Sandwich

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Chilled soups are the perfect food to eat in the summer’s warm weather. An added bonus is that they should be made ahead which will keep the kitchen cool in the heat of the day. You can make this up 3 days in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cold soups can be a prelude to a lovely meal or be a satisfying companion to a favorite sandwich. I like to serve the soup in small bowls on a large plate to leave room for the sandwich.

Vichyssoise, a pureed cooked vegetable soup, is traditionally served chilled. ““Vish-ee-swaz”, as it is pronounced, usually includes potatoes, leeks and cream. This is a lighter version swapping out chicken broth for the cream. Fresh watercress and basil update this classic summer soup. A finishing dollop of lemon-basil cream gives it a bright, appealing look. If you want a dairy-free version, just garnish with shredded basil instead of the lemon cream. Remember to season the soup just before serving since the flavors become muted when cold.

Here’s a few sandwich combinations to get your creativity going. Don’t forget to seek out artisan breads for best flavor.

  • Cold marinated sliced flank steak and arugula leaves on sourdough rolls spread with spicy mayonnaise
  • Prosciutto, tomatoes, roasted peppers spread with garlic mayonnaise on sesame seed bread
  • Chopped smoked salmon and egg salad on rye bread
  • Cold grilled chicken slices, sliced avocado and tomato Salsa stuffed in a warm sesame pita bread
  • Fresh crumbled goat cheese, marinated sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red and yellow peppers on a sourdough roll spread with garlic mayonnaise

Watercress Basil Vichyssoise with Lemon Cream

Serves 6-8

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium leeks, white part only, cleaned and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 pounds white rose potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

¼ cup basil leaves

1 medium bunch watercress, leaves only

8 cups chicken broth

Salt and white pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Lemon cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2    tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1    tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves

  1. In medium soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and continue sauteing for about 5 more minutes or until softened. Add watercress and basil and continue sauteing 3 minutes or until wilted.
  1. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  1. Puree soup in blender or puree with an immersion blender right in the pot. Pour into medium bowl. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  1. To make lemon cream: combine all ingredients in small bowl and mix until well blended.
  1. To serve, ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with dollop of lemon cream cream.

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