Chilled Potato-Leek Soup with Purple Pansies and Basil
Serves 4 / This cool, ready-for-summer soup can be prepared several days ahead of time; just add flowers right before serving. To make basil chiffonade, stack basil leaves, roll up, and slice crosswise.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium leeks, white part only, trimmed, washed well, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound red potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup half-and-half or whole milk
1/2 cup purple pansy petals
1/2 cup basil chiffonade
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Whole purple pansies, for garnish
1. In a heavy saucepan, heat oil and sauté leeks, onion, and garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in potatoes, wine, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender. Purée soup in batches, transferring each batch to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water. Let soup cool for 20 minutes, or until cold (or refrigerate 1 hour).
2. Stir in half-and-half, pansy petals, and basil. Season with salt and white pepper. Garnish with cheese, if desired, and whole pansies.