David Reamer
Radish Vichyssoise with Mussels & Pesto from Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird by Gabriel Rucker
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Radish Vichyssoise with Mussels & Pesto

Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird, Gabriel Rucker - December 2013

Adapted from Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird by Gabriel Rucker

For 4 servings (requires advance preparation)

Grilled pickled onions:

  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. (2g) black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp. (1g) red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup (120g) red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps. (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. (18g) kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 1 lg. red onion, cut into 1/2"-thick rings
  • canola oil
  1. Heat a grill to high.

  2. Wrap thyme, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes in cheesecloth; tie with kitchen twine; bring bouquet garni, vinegar, sugar, salt, and water to a boil in large saucepan; remove from heat; cool.

  3. Place onion in large bowl; coat with oil; grill until blackened in spots; flip; grill until blackened in spots (onion should still be slightly firm; 3 to 4 minutes per side); remove from grill; place in large airtight container; add pickling liquid; cover; reserve in refrigerator at least 1 day.


  • 1 Tbsp. (14g) unsalted butter
  • 1 lg. white onion, cut into sm. dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, plus 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 bunches red radishes, coarsely chopped, leaves reserved
  • 3 cups (750ml) water
  • 2 1/2 cups (575g) dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsps. (45g) Moscatel vinegar
  • 1 tsp. (6g) kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. (14g) canola oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. (14g) tarragon, chopped
  • 2 lbs. (900g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/3 cup (79g) heavy cream
  1. Heat butter in a stockpot set over medium heat; add onion and minced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes); add radishes; cook 5 minutes; add water, 1 1/2 cups (345g) wine, and vinegar; season; bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium; simmer.

  2. Heat oil in large sauté pan set over medium heat; add chopped garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant (1 to 2 minutes); add tarragon, 1 tsp. salt, mussels, and remaining 1 cup (230g) wine; cover; cook until mussels have opened (about 4 minutes); remove from heat; strain into a bowl; place mussels in another bowl, discarding any that aren’t open; cool mussels; add cooking liquid to radish stockpot; simmer 20 minutes.

  3. Remove soup from heat; cool completely; place in a blender; blend, gradually adding cream, until smooth; season; place in airtight container; cover; reserve in refrigerator.


  • 1/4 cup (54g) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • kosher salt
  1. Blend 1/2 cup (15g) radish leaves, oil, garlic, and zest in a blender until it has the texture of oily pesto; season; place in airtight container; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

  2. To serve, ladle soup into large serving bowls; gently add mussels to the center of each bowl; top mussels with 2 pickled onions per bowl; drizzle pesto around.