Let me go ahead and put this out there: today’s recipe looks quite refined. If you are the type to judge by appearances, it screams “ladies who lunch” or “bridal shower in the Hamptons”. On second thought, it doesn’t scream at all. It articulates, possibly in a clipped New England staccato or a honey-laced Southern drawl. This is a recipe you serve people when you want them to think: (a) you spent years in an European culinary apprenticeship, (b) you only consume sophisticated food products and sip chilled cocktails or (c) that they are marrying into money.
Rest assured though, this recipe is far from snobby. It’s simple, relatively inexpensive and worthy of a “S@$%! this is good!” I mean, we are talking about M@M here. Perhaps, no word is less descriptive of my life philosophy than “refined”. (Well, possibly “dainty”, but that’s a hang-up for another post.) Other than a penchant for day drinking, I can’t think of any ways I measure up to a society girl. My potty-mouth rivals the best of them (ZomppaB keeps me clean on here). Watching football makes me red-faced and sweaty and talking about games often causes unexpected spittle to fly out of my mouth in exuberance. My “indoor” voice requires my friends to lower their phone volume to level 1. Heck, my mom even sent a note with me to grades K-2 making sure I wouldn’t be called by my (society) nickname (Missy, of course). No, I preferred “Mel”. Put a beer in front of me, and I’m likely to gulp it down. Put a cute boy in front of me, and I’m likely to make the first move. Yes, terms like “refined” and “high society” are far from my grasp.
[Stereotype Alert!!: If you’re still reading and are starting to think, “Gee. This article makes a lot of generalizations. I’m moderately offended.” Or, if your name *is* Missy, then please know a hand-written “I’m sorry” on embossed,personalized stationary is not on its way to you. Toughen up, it’s a little artistic license. Eat some soup and calm down.]
Still, this recipe makes me feel…well, civilized. The cool creaminess to the soup, the sharp tang of the dill and the smoky chew of cured salmon combine to almost force one to take small sips.
With a brioche roll and a crisp white wine, I *might* even say I eat it daintily.
Judge for yourself.
CHILLED LEEK SOUP with SMOKED SALMON and DILL-YOGURT SAUCE
Serves 4 (6, daintily)
Adapted from a May 2011 Bon Appetit Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 large leeks (about 6 1/2 cups), white and pale green parts only (slice leeks thinly and then soak and agitate in a bowl of water to remove trapped dirt; see picture)
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable broth (possibly more depending on desired thickness)
3 tablespoons dill, chopped and divided (2 tbsp for soup, 1 tbsp for yogurt)
Sprinkle of nutmeg
1/4 cup Greek plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 oz. smoked salmon (preferably wild salmon), diced
Dill sprigs, for fancy, fancy garnish
- After cleaning leeks carefully (leeks are often full of dirt and there is nothing *less* refined then getting a big, gritty mouthful of dirt in this smooth soup), heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until soft. About 6 to 7 minutes. You do not want them to brown so turn the heat down if this starts to happen.
- Add potato and stir.
- Add at least 3 cups of broth (enough to cover ingredients) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Allow to cool slightly.
- Puree in batches in blender along with 2 tablespoons of the chopped dill and a small sprinkle of nutmeg (no more than 1/4 teaspoon). Add more broth as needed to adjust thickness. (If you want a super-creamy soup, you could also use milk or cream to adjust.)
- Transfer to a large dish and season with salt/pepper. Store covered in refrigerator for at least two hours.
- To make yogurt: stir together Greek yogurt, lemon zest and remaining tablespoon of dill.
- To serve: Pour into bowls and dollop with yogurt. Sprinkle with chopped salmon and dill, as desired.