Cucumber Vichyssoise with Crayfish Cream

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The word vichyssoise is used loosely here to mean a chilled cream vegetable soup that is thickened with potatoes and enriched with cream, along the lines of the original one of Louis Diat. The cucumber provides a nice change from leeks, and you could use summer squashes as well, or even eggplant. If you do not want a shellfish cream, use the tomato cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 small white onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup crayfish essence
  • cups whipping cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs chervil
  • 4 crayfish heads, cooked

Method

Put the onion, tarragon, and 2 tablespoons of the chicken stock in a saucepan. Cover and sweat over very low heat for 10 minutes.

Add the cucumbers and cook covered for 5 minutes. Add the remaining chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat and remove from the heat.

While the soup is cooling, stir the crayfish essence into ½ cup of the cream and let sit for 30 minutes.

Puree the cucumbers with their cooking liquid in a food mill or food processor and stir in the remaining cream. Refrigerate until cold.

Whip the crayfish cream until it takes on a little bit of body, about 1 minute. Season the soup and serve in chilled bowls with the crayfish cream swirled on top. Garnish each serving with a chervil sprig and a crayfish head.

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