Potato and Leek Soup Topped with Fried Gremolata

The winter season always makes it the ideal time of year to whip up a hearty pot of soup to warm you up inside and out, and this particularly rustic recipe from Bon Appétit is the perfect meal for those cold winter days when the weather is bitter and freezing. The following recipe for a hearty leek and potato soup that’s served with fried herb gremolata and lemon wedges serves as a zesty and texture-rich soup that will stand as a reliable dish for many winters to come.

Ingredients for Potato and Leek Soup

1 large lemon

7 cloves of garlic, divided

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup of sage leaves, loosely-packed

½ cup of rosemary leaves, loosely-packed

10 sprigs of thyme

1 3.5 oz. jar of capers

1 large bunch of parsley

2 ½ teaspoons of Morton kosher salt plus one additional tablespoon, divided

3 stalks of celery

1 ¼ pound of Yukon Gold potatoes

2 quarts of vegetable stock, divided

½ cup of heavy cream

Directions for Potato and Leek Soup:

  1. You’ll begin this recipe by lining a baking sheet with a single layer of paper towels and finely grating the zest from a single large lemon into a medium bowl. Cut your lemon into wedges and set it aside for serving. Next, finely chop 2 garlic cloves and add them to the bowl with lemon zest.
  2. Pour your extra-virgin olive into a small saucepan until it comes up approximately ½ inch up the side of the saucepan. Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the sides of the pan and heat your oil over medium heat until the thermometer registers at 225°F–250 °F. While working in two separate batches and returning the oil to 225 °F in between batches, fry 1 cup of loosely-packed sage leaves until the oil stops bubbling and the sage is crisp but still fairly green (about 2 minutes per batch). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leaves to your prepared baking sheet.
  3. Repeat the frying process with ½ cup of loose-packed rosemary leaves and then 10 sprigs of thyme while returning the oil to 225°F–250°F between batches and transferring them all to the same baking sheet.
  4. Next, set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium-sized Dutch oven. Drain your single 3.5 oz. jar of capers and pat them dry. Then, fry the capers in the oil while stirring occasionally. Continue this just until the capers burst open and are crisp and have darkened to a deep green color. Keep an eye on the frying capers, because the oil will begin to bubble steadily at the beginning, but it will bubble less frequently when the capers are ready to be removed (after about 5 minutes). Remove the capers from the heat, strain them through the prepared sieve, and allow the oil to cool. Transfer your capers onto the baking sheet with the herbs.
  5. Pluck the leaves off of our large bunch of parsley until you have 2 loosely-packed cups and coarsely chop them. Then, coarsely chop your thyme into pieces that are the same size as the parsley and add both to the bowl with your garlic and lemon zest. Pout your sage, rosemary, and capers into the bowl, and season the gremolata with kosher salt, and gently toss it to combine.
  6. Trim the dark green tops off of 2 ½ pounds of your leeks and discard the tops. Slice the white and pale green parts into 1/4th inch-thick rounds, rinse them into a large bowl of water, and swish them around to loosen and wash off any dirt. Drain and repeat this process as needed and then wipe the bowl clean before returning the leeks to the bowl.
  7. Slice your 3 celery stalks on a slight diagonal so that they’re ¼ inches thick. Afterward, thinly slice the 5 remaining garlic cloves, add both the celery and garlic to the bowl with your leeks and ¾ teaspoon of Morton kosher salt.
  8. Heat some vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and while the oil is heating up, slice 1 ¼ pound of Yukon Gold potatoes into ¼ inch-thick discs.
  9. Once the oil is hot, add your leek mixture to the oven and stir it with a slotted spoon to coat the pieces. Reserve the bowl, cover the oven with a lid, and let it cook until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. This should take approximately 5 minutes. Afterward, transfer your vegetables back to the reserved bowl.
  10. Transfer your potatoes to a pot and add 1 quart of vegetable stock and the remaining 1 ¾ teaspoons of Morton kosher salt to the pot. Heat it over medium-high until it’s rapidly simmering but not boiling, partially cover it, and continue to cook it for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart. Return the leek mixture to the pot, add the remaining 1 quart of vegetable stock and ½ cup of heavy cream to the pot, and cook it until it’s just starting to simmer again.
  11. Remove the pot from the heat, taste it, and season it with salt if needed. Ladle the finished soup into bowls, spoon a generous amount of gremolata on top, and stir it in the bowl. Serve the bowls alongside your reserved lemon wedges, and enjoy!

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