Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cool Zucchini Soup

I heard about this on NPR a few weeks ago and after a quite fruitful trip to a local Farmer's Market on Saturday, I had some of the freshest zucchini I has ever seen in my hot little hands. I decided it was the perfect time for making this soup.

The zucchini was so fresh that the soup had a slight sweetness to it. I garnished it with some freshly sliced basil from my parent's garden and we ended up with a delightful starter to our meal that could also have been enough of a meal on its own with some crusty baguette and a nice compound butter.


Cool Zucchini Soup

Chef's Note: This is a very satisfying version of the zucchini-mint soup I so enjoyed. I've never quite figured out how to add the flavor of the mint while still preserving the smooth texture. I'm still working on it. But using mint as a fine herbal garnish works well, as does using basil.

Makes 4 servings; Yields 1 quart

1/4 cup olive oil
2 small to medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk, to taste
Salt and pepper
Basil or mint sprigs, finely chopped or julienned, for garnish (optional)

Place the oil in a heavy pot. Add zucchini, onion, lemon zest and a little salt to help draw out the juices. Sweat them, covered, for 25 minutes. Check and stir frequently. Don't let the zucchini brown. Don't overcook it, either, or it will take on an unappetizing olive hue.

When the vegetables are quite tender but not mushy, add the stock. Simmer everything together for 5 minutes.

Using a blender set on high, puree the soup in batches and strain it through a fine strainer or sieve, discarding any fibrous solids. Whisk in buttermilk to taste and chill at least 4 hours.