Summer Fest Week 3 – Zucchini Soup

ZucchiniSoup

11 Aug Summer Fest Week 3 – Zucchini Soup

Zucchini Soup - TheMessyBaker.com

Zucchini is one of those innocuous vegetables that doesn’t really stand out. Sure, the small ones can be tender, but the large ones tend to get spongy. Because of the high moisture content and neutral taste —and it’s debatable zucchini actually has a taste — it’s grated into cakes, mixed into pasta sauces and even used as a substitute for lasagna noodles.

Although I’ve been happily eating this vegetable for years I have yet to say, “Mmmm, mmmm! Now THAT’S one good zucchini!” I usually buy them as an excuse to enjoy the herbs, spices and cheeses they support so well. And zucchini bisque is one of my favourite excuses.

Now, most recipes, including my own family’s recipe, use far too much cream. I used to think my version, which I posted a couple of years ago, was pretty good. Ignore it. This one is better. Not only does it use far less fat, it’s more generous with fresh herbs. It comes from Heidi Noble’s award-winning cookbook, Menus from an Orchard Table. While Noble’s story is intriguing and the photos seductive, mains that call for wild boar and pheasant are beyond my skills. I admit, when I saw the meat dishes in this book I was more than a bit intimidated. But the vegetable recipes are another matter.

So as Summer Fest heads into Week 3, I offer my contribution to “Beans & Greens” with a soft green zucchini soup. Use small zucchini. Their high green-skin-to-pale-inside ratio creates a lovely avocado hue.

Make it now. Make it often. Make more than you think you’ll need. The recipe says it serves 6, but three or four is closer to my appetite demands. Heck, I’m tempted to eat the whole batch myself.

Zucchini Soup - TheMessyBaker.com

Zucchini Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
This easy zucchini soup has a bit of heat and a velvety smooth texture. It's the perfect way to use up the zucchinis that arrive in droves every summer.
Ingredients
  • 2lb zucchini (about 4 medium or 6 small)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes or small peperocino
  • 2 cups light chicken or vegetable stock, hot
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (35%)
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped or chiffonade
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large lemon, juice and zest
Instructions
  1. Cut the unpeeled zucchini in half. If the zucchini is very large, remove the seeds with a spoon or melon baller. Lay the zucchini on its flat side and cut into ½-inch half-moon slices. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan and slowly cook the zucchini for 5 minutes on low. While the zucchini is cooking, heat the stock.
  2. Add the garlic slices and continue to cook the zucchini for 20 minute or until it has "melted" and turned golden brown and become very soft. Add a pinch of salt, some freshly ground pepper and chili flakes.
  3. Pour the hot stock over the softened zucchini and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender and purée until smooth. Pour the blended soup into a clean pot. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Keep the soup warm until serving.
  4. Right before serving, add the cream, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and fresh herbs. Finish off with the lemon juice and zest. Serve with crusty bread.
Notes
If you have zucchini plants, pick one of the blossoms and chiffonade that too, for garnish.

This recipe is excerpted with permission from Menus from an Orchard table: Celebrating the Food and Wine of the Okanagan by Heidi Noble. Published by Whitecap books 2007.

 

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No Comments
  • Joy Manning
    Posted at 09:25h, 11 August Reply

    This looks really terrific! I will definitely have to make myself a batch.

  • gabrielaskitchen
    Posted at 09:35h, 11 August Reply

    I'm going to try this out, sans cream (my lactose intolerant boyfriend loves cream of anything) – do you think it would be okay if I substituted a potato?

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 09:41h, 11 August Reply

    Joy, I was surprised how much I like this. Hope you do too.

    Gabriela, the cream adds flavour as well as helping with the velvety texture. By comparison a potato might leave the soup tasting a bit flat. However, if your boyfriend is used to this kind of substitution, it could be a suitable swap. If you try it, please let me know. I'm sure many readers would be interested in the results.

  • Chef Gwen
    Posted at 10:53h, 11 August Reply

    Know what's great about this post? You get to use 2 pounds! of zucchini. And if you double the recipe, that's even better!

    It really sounds delicious, and who doesn't need a zucchini recipe. I think they multiply in my vegetable drawer.

    Here's my Sesame Soy Glazed Green Beans post for Summer Fest 2009 week 3:

    http://penandfork.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/sesame-soy-glazed-green-beans/#comments

  • SteamyKitchen
    Posted at 11:02h, 11 August Reply

    Fantastic recipe! Great way to use up all the zucchini coming in.

  • Kelsey
    Posted at 13:11h, 11 August Reply

    I love Zucchini soup and can't to try this!

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 14:34h, 11 August Reply

    Such lovely photos, though I sound like a broken record because your pix have been so pretty lately.

    My friend Lisa owes me zucchini from her garden. Now that I have this recipe in my arsenal, I'll make sure she delivers.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 14:53h, 11 August Reply

    I echo Cheryl's comments about the pictures … exquisite, Charmian!

    I'm marking this as an immediate must-try. I adore zucchini and I can't believe I've never made it as a soup. I've used it in soup, but not as the main ingredient. It sounds amazing – and probably just as delicious hot or cold. Yum!

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 14:53h, 11 August Reply

    I echo Cheryl's comments about the pictures … exquisite, Charmian!

    I'm marking this as an immediate must-try. I adore zucchini and I can't believe I've never made it as a soup. I've used it in soup, but not as the main ingredient. It sounds amazing – and probably just as delicious hot or cold. Yum!

  • danamccauley
    Posted at 16:27h, 11 August Reply

    Such lovely photos! I'm not a huge zucchini fan. I like it well enough but it's not a veggie I crave (there are many others that I yearn for on occasion).

    i also agree that the cream is a nice touch here that will make the soup more velvety and elegant. Gabriela, why not give him a lactose tab before you serve it?

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 18:24h, 11 August Reply

    i dont want to eat this.

  • Tanya
    Posted at 18:47h, 11 August Reply

    I haven't made zucchini soup before, but if it tastes as good as it look s- I'll definitely have to give it go :-)

  • Trevor
    Posted at 21:05h, 11 August Reply

    I wasn't going to let any more zucchini into my house but now that I saw this I will reconsider. Bring it on!

  • Lone Acorn
    Posted at 02:17h, 12 August Reply

    You have made such a healthy soup. Before the main course, I always love to have soup. So that I can slowly slurp the soup, indulging in its taste.

  • Sophie
    Posted at 03:47h, 12 August Reply

    Your courgettes soup looks so lovely & so tasty!

    MMMMMMMMMMMM,…

  • Kristina
    Posted at 14:16h, 12 August Reply

    I love squash soups! And this one is so pretty and sounds delicious!

    Here's my entry for week three:
    http://tnlocavore.typepad.com/tennessee_locavore/2009/08/greens-peas-cornbread-oh-my.html

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 11:41h, 14 August Reply

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words and enthusiasm. I hope you are all enjoying Summer Fest as much as I am.

    I can't wait to see what everyone will come up with for next week's topic — tomatoes!!!!!

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