Do you think that experiment with the Sweet and Sour Zucchini dampened our spirits for trying new zucchini recipes? No way, when it comes to zucchini season we have the jump on the rest of the country. Who else out there is testing zucchini recipes in preparation for the overwhelming supply of zucchini still to come?
Right before lunch, we had the idea of making zucchini soup. We figured that someone had made some before, so we typed “zucchini soup” into Google to see what we could find. Right near the top of the list was a Zucchini Soup by Grant Achatz, and, for us, the name rang a bell. We remembered that we read his book Life, on the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat, in which he describes his efforts to overcome cancer. It was a great read; plus, we got some insight into his famous restaurant, Alinea, and the food they serve (we’d never be able to afford to eat there, and we probably could never make any of the recipes, either). We figured that we’d try the soup, as it’s a pretty basic and easy recipe, although we did modify it to use more vegetable broth.
It’s all about zucchini, baby. That’s almost all there is to this soup. For the onion, we used a green I’itoi onion, since they’re local and one of our favorites. Other onions will work, too. We make our own stock at least once a week — simply by saving vegetable trimmings and simmering in water for 45 minutes — but a low-sodium, light stock would work, too.
Procedure in detail:
Melt butter. Pace the butter and oil in a medium (about 3-quart) saucepan over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, give it a swirl to mix.
Sweat onions and garlic. Add the onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring or swirling often, until tender, about 7 minutes. If you need to turn down the heat, feel free; you want these to cook slowly and not brown.
Soften zucchini. Add zucchini and cook, stirring and turning as needed, until the zucchini begins to soften, mainly around the edges, about 10 minutes. It probably won’t soften all the way through, but that’s fine.
Add broth and simmer. Pour in the broth, increase heat, and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until the zucchini is quite tender. The center parts of the zucchini will have begun to break down.
Blend and season. Pour the soup into a blender, in batches if necessary, and blend very smooth. Very smooth. We let it run in our high-powered blender for about a minute, so very smooth. Now taste. Kind of bland? Add salt and pepper, and blend it in. Taste again, and season more if needed. We ended up using about a teaspoon of salt in our soup, but our broth, since we make it ourselves, has no added salt, so the amount you’ll have to add will likely be different.
Strain and reheat. Rinse or wash out the saucepan you’ve been using and strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve. It’s the little things like this that can go a long way in making your soup as good as it can be. At one time, we wouldn’t have bothered, thinking it’s too much trouble; now, we just do it as a matter of course. After all, who wants to hit a chunk of vegetable in a smooth, almost cream soup? If you need to, reheat your soup over a low burner.
Serve. Ladle into bowls and top with a garnish of small zucchini sticks. Enjoy
Amazing. This soup is quite good — probably the best savory way we’ve had to eat zucchini by the pound. It’s super smooth, almost creamy, and with a delicate squash flavor, even though it’s almost entirely squash. Perfect for a summer soup. Why we didn’t think of it before today? We have no idea, but, now that we have, we’ll be keeping it in mind for the future. Got zucchini? Bring it on, as we have a five-star recipe!