If you love the classic French soup, vichyssoise, then you need to try my version using garlic scapes! This cold garlic scape soup is light and fresh and perfect to make ahead for all sorts of spring and summer entertaining.
We are back to the garlic scape time of year! As soon as I saw them at my local farm stand (Langwater Farm!), I had to snap up a few bunches and try out some recipes.
This year’s recipe winner in the garlic scape sweepstakes is a cold garlic scape soup, based on my favorite version of vichyssoise. (Which I will note that I can’t spell to save my life. It’s all copy and paste here. 🙂 ) While I can’t spell it, I do love it and can make…I’ll be honest here…a pretty awesome, kick-ass version of the soup.
I first had my Platonic ideal of vichyssoise many years ago at winery restaurant in Sonoma as we looked over the vineyards and sipped white wine. While those surroundings will give anyone an especially positive feeling about whatever they’re eating, that soup was special and I went right back home recreated it.
And now I’ve given it a twist by adding garlic scapes to it! Yum.
More information on Garlic Scapes and Recipes:
- Ingredient Spotlight: How to Use Garlic Scapes
- White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip
- Sausage and Garlic Scape Risotto
How to Trim Garlic Scapes for Soup
While the entire scape is edible, I do prefer to trim off the bulb end. As you can see in the photos I trim the scapes just below the point where the scape bulges out and then use the smooth bottom end of the scape. I find that the bulb end of garlic scapes can be tough and stringy.
If your scapes are a little on older side, then you may need to also check the cut end to see if it is woody or dry. Give them a little trim to take off the brown bits from where they were cut and look at the freshly cut end. If it is green and fresh looking, you are are good to go. If not, trim off a little more.
How to Make Garlic Scape Soup
While the word, vichyssoise, can make you think the soup is complicated, don’t worry! Garlic scape soup is simple to make so long as you have a soup pot and a blender.
First, saute the sliced leeks in butter until they are tender. Then, add the scapes and give them a saute too.
Next up, add the potatoes and some of the stock and let the soup simmer until the potatoes are soft. Once all the veggies are cooked, add in the rest of the chicken stock and cream (which will cool off the soup for the blender), and puree it all until smooth.
Now’s the tough part! You need to let the soup cool until it is completely cold. In fact, a little time in the freezer (20-30 minutes) just before serving makes it even better. To make dinner easy, cook and chill the soup in the morning or the night before you are going to serve it.
Shortly before you serve the soup, slice up a baguette, brush the slices with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, and grill them until golden brown. Cut the grilled bread into croutons and use them as garnishes for the soup. The croutons aren’t strictly necessary, but they add great flavor and crunch to the soup, so I would highly recommend making them.
Is vichyssoise a French recipe?
This is one of those yes and no questions!
Potato leek soup is a classic French recipe which is well known and enjoyed throughout the region. However, the French generally eat their potato leek soup hot, not cold. They also don’t call it – whether hot, cold, or room temperature – vichyssoise.
Along with potato leek soup in general, the cold version of the soup, made by adding cream to it, was also first created in France, by at least one young boy who didn’t want hot soup in the summer. The cooled off, creamy soup was a childhood favorite of the French chef, Louis Diat, which he enjoyed in his hometown, not too far from Vichy.
However, the cold soup was named and popularized only after Chef Diat came to NYC in the early 1900s. He drew on those childhood memories and created the soup we know as vichyssoise while at the Ritz Carlton.
So, you will definitely find potato leek soup in France. And you may find a cold version in the summer. However, unless you are in a restaurant which heavily caters to American tourists, you are unlikely to find any soup called vichyssoise.
No matter the origin, ice cold vichyssoise is a perfect soup for a warm, summer’s evening and is a great way to use those garlic scapes you found at the farm stand or recieved in your CSA share.
If you try my recipe for Cold Garlic Scape Soup, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
Cold Garlic Scape Potato Soup (Vichyssoise)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium leek, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
- 1/2 cup chopped garlic scapes, approx. 8 scapes
- 1 medium yellow potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 4-6 cups chicken stock, low or no sodium
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices baguette, each about 1 inch thick
- olive oil, for brushing the bread slices
- chopped fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, chopped garlic scapes, half and half, as garnishes
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Then add the leeks with a sprinkle of kosher salt and saute until soft, 6-7 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the leeks from browning too much. A little browning is okay, but the leeks should still be mainly green.
- Add the garlic scapes and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add the potatoes, 2 cups of chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are completely tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Take the soup off the heat; add in another 2 cups of chicken stock and the half and half. Then puree the soup until smooth in the blender. (You may need to do it in two batches.)
- Pour the soup into a bowl. Taste and add more stock, salt, or pepper as needed. Chill the soup for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the grill. Once the grill is hot, brush the slices of bread with olive oil and give them a sprinkle of kosher salt. Grill the bread until it has dark grill lines and it is browned on both sides. Cut the bread into cubes.
- Serve the soup with grilled croutons and garnishes such as chopped herbs, a swirl of cream, fresh ground pepper, and chopped garlic scapes.
- Leeks: Leeks tend to be gritty. Rinse the sliced leek in a colander before adding it to the pot.
- Body/Texture of the Soup: The soup should be fairly thin. This is not a hearty winter potato soup, but a light and summery soup. Thin the soup out with more stock as needed until you are happy with the texture.
- Stock: Since you will be using so much stock in the soup, it is important that the flavor of the stock be at its best. Use a stock (either purchased or homemade) which you enjoy the taste of all by itself.
- Garlic Scapes: While you can eat the whole scape, I prefer to trim them just below the bulb and slice up the curly thick area of the scape for this recipe.
- Chilling: If you want the soup to be extra cold, put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before serving.