Dive in to a big bowl of cold soup this summer

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Cold corn:</span> Vichyssoise is just one option of a refreshing soup during a hot summer.
Cold corn: Vichyssoise is just one option of a refreshing soup during a hot summer.
Christian Gooden / MCT

Main dish


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon corn oil

1 medium onion, sliced (about 1 3/4 cups)

8 ounces potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

4 large ears corn, husked and kernels cut off (3 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or tarragon

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Mix in the potatoes, corn kernels, salt and water and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to puree. For a soup with a smoother, finer texture, push it through a fine sieve set over a bowl. Stir in the half-and-half and chives or tarragon. Refrigerate until chilled before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 330 calories, 19 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 40 mg cholesterol, 8 g protein, 38 g carbohydrate, 9 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 645 g sodium.

Source: From “Essential Pepin,” by Jacques Pepin.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The sun is blazing. The sweat is dripping. The air feels as if it is sticking to your skin.

Hey, how about a nice big bowl of soup?

No, seriously. Soup is good food. Especially in the summer, when the soup is cold.

Summer soup is different from winter soup. Winter soup is heavy, substantial, serious. It sticks to your ribs.

But summer soup is light, frivolous, festive. It cools you down from the inside out. And if it is the right soup, it can even be a little bit sweet and no one will complain.

Vichyssoise is simple and pure — and one of the all-time great French dishes that isn’t actually French.

That’s right. Vichyssoise (I just learned this, and I’m dying to share it) was invented in 1917 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New York City.

Chef Louis Diat liked to create a new hot-weather recipe every summer, and that year he thought about the leek-and-potato soup his mother used to serve when he was growing up in Bourbon-l’Archambault, about 40 miles from the town of Vichy. When she served leftover soup, she would thin it out with cream.

It is that idea, leek-and-potato soup mixed with cream and chilled, that is the essence of vichyssoise.

Because it was created in America, I decided to make a distinctly American version of it by adding corn to the potatoes and leeks or onions. This idea came from Jacques Pepin who, like Diat, is a French chef living in America. That makes it a French-American version of a French-American dish.

And it is terrific.

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