Spinach vichyssoise

Allegra McEvedy adds puréed spinach to this classic French leek soup and serves it with a lemon and ricotta-topped crostini
By Allegra McEvedy
Spinach vichyssoise
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the leek stock

  • 500 g leeks
  • handfuls flat-leaf parsley, including stalks
  • large carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • large white onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns

For the crostini

  • 4 heaped tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 4 long thin slices of baguettes
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • extra virgin olive oil, to taste

For the soup

  • reserved trimmed leeks
  • 20 g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 350 g white onions, thinly sliced
  • 200 g celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 150 g King Edward potatoes, peeled and chopped small
  • 300 g baby spinach, well washed

Method

1. For the leek stock: wash and trim the leeks and put all the trimmings from the tops and root ends in a large saucepan or stockpot with all the ingredients for the stock. Set aside the trimmed leeks.

2. Cover with 1.2 litres of water and simmer for 40 minutes.

3. For the crostini: preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Spread the ricotta onto the slices of baguette, sprinkle with lemon zest, season well with salt and pepper and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Set aside on a baking tray. Meanwhile, cook the soup.

4. For the soup: slice the reserved trimmed leeks thinly, and wash again under cold running water.

5. Heat the butter and garlic in a medium saucepan over a low heat and fry the onions, leeks, celery and garlic for about 20-25 minutes, or until translucent, but not coloured.

6. Add the potato, stir well, then strain the hot leek stock through a metal sieve directly into the pan and turn up the heat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Put the baking tray with the crostini in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the ricotta is firmed; keep warm.

8. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender (around 20 minutes). Stir in the baby spinach, cool slightly and blend to a velvety smooth purée with a hand-held blender. Season with salt and pepper.

9. Serve the soup in bowls, either hot or chilled, each serving topped with a crostini.

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