This granddaddy of cold summer soups, despite its French title, was actually created in New York City by Louis Diat at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 1910.
6 large leeks (white parts only)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
5 russet potatoes
1 quart chicken stock
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons vermouth
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of fresh chives, finely snipped
1. Split the leeks in half, clean out any grit, and cut into thin slices. Melt the butter in a deep pot over very low heat, and add the leeks and onions. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Be very careful not to brown the vegetables.)
2. While the vegetables are cooking, peel potatoes, chop coarsely, and reserve in cold water.
3. When the leeks and onions have cooked, add the reserved potatoes and chicken stock to the pot, and simmer very gently until the potatoes are falling apart. (Do not bring the soup to a boil. Gradually add water to simmering vegetables if vegetables dry out.)
4. Purée by passing the vegetables through a food mill, or mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Pour the puréed mixture into a fine strainer, such as a chinois, making sure all the liquid is passed into a large bowl. Reserve the puréed mixture and the liquid.
5. Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan, and scoop the reserved puréed mixture into the hot milk. Simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into the strainer once more, making sure all the liquid is passed into the large bowl that contains the first straining. Discard the puréed mixture.
6. Completely cool the soup in the refrigerator or over ice. When it's cool, stir in the heavy cream, and add the nutmeg, cayenne and vermouth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill the soup overnight. When ready to serve, adjust the thickness with cream or water as desired.
7. Pour into chilled bowls and garnish with chives.
This granddaddy of cold summer soups, despite its French title, was actually created in New York City by Louis Diat at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 1910. But its ancestry is French; it's a cold version of the great hot french soup potage parmentier, or leek-and-potato soup. The following cold version is simply extraordinary, the best we've ever tasted; though it's extremely light and refreshing, the depth of potato flavor is remarkably intense. This occurs because the potatoes are actually cooked twiceonce in stock, once in milk. Serves 6 to 8