Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cool Zucchini Soup Courtesy of Chez Pink (aka Big Ass Zucchini, Part I)

My best friend, Chez Pink, has her first vegetable garden. Lucky for me, I get to benefit from her spoils. First up, world's (or Hapeville's) biggest zucchini ever!

After weighing in at 4 1/2 pounds, I knew I had to come up with multiple applications for this puppy! I decided to start with Some Cool Zucchini Soup...unfortunately, it only used about 1/6 of the zuke. I got this recipe from NPR about 3 years ago when I was driving into work, I believe on my last day at EarthLink (or near to it).

Cool Zucchini Soup
Yields 4 Servings

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.

1/4 Cup oil, olive
2 Medium squash, zucchini coarsely chopped
1 Medium onion, yellow coarsely chopped
1 Large lemon zested
1 Cup stock, chicken, low-sodium or vegetable
1/2 Cup buttermilk, reduced-fat or less, to taste
1 to taste salt and pepper
4 Sprigs basil or mint, fresh finely chopped or julienned

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.