Serious Eats: Recipes

Cucumber and Lettuce Vichyssoise from 'River Cottage Veg'

[Photograph: Simon Wheeler]

Chilled potato-leek soup, or Vichyssoise, is an excellent budget dish to have up one's sleeve. At its most basic, the soup's humble ingredients combine to form a silky, luxurious meal far greater than the sum of its parts. In other words: I eat it quite a bit. But I'd never heard of anything like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's verdant version before. The velvety green soup in his new cookbook River Cottage Veg contains not only the potatoes and leeks, but also a couple of cucumbers and heads of butter lettuce as well. Even crazier is the fact that he cooks both of these ingredients before blitzing the mess in a blender. Yet, it works. The greenery adds a refreshing touch and brilliant color to the soup, and the dollop of creme fraiche at the end is the perfect tangy-rich note to finish.

Why I picked this recipe: Cooked cucumber and cooked lettuce? I had to try it.

What worked: Everything, from the ingredient list to the finishing touches, worked brilliantly.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: You could substitute spinach or another soft leafy green for the Little Gem if you still can't wrap your head around cooking lettuce. The croutons are a nice addition, but if you want to skip them, the soup doesn't suffer.

Reprinted with permission from River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

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