Photo by Beverly Wang
- 3 medium (~300g) zucchini or your favorite type of Summer squash
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 C of basil leaves, very loosely packed
- 1 Cup of chicken, vegetable broth, or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
What better way to celebrate the beginning of spring than with a bright, herbaceous soup? Spring heralds the return of a multitude of fresh vegetables that are perfect for use in all sorts of dishes. This soup is a great way to beat any chilly weather that might be lingering and won’t leave you feeling heavy.
The short list of ingredients and ease of preparation belie this soup’s deliciousness. Sauteed zucchini and fresh herbs are pureed together, creating a luscious, creamy soup without the use of heavy cream or milk. Consider this a base recipe that you can build upon or customize to your tastes. Dislike basil? Substitute with the fresh herb of your choice; add beans or cubed potatoes for a more substantial meal. Craving a little more depth of flavor? Roast the zucchini instead, and caramelize the shallots first before pureeing. Add less water, and use it as a sauce for pasta or a dip for chips. No matter how you choose to prepare this soup, you’ll have yourself a quick and delicious meal that will pair well with just about any spring meal.
- 1. Wash the basil leaves and let dry. You can choose to use a salad spinner to speed up the process, but gently patting the leaves with some towels will suffice.
- 2. Wash the zucchini and slice into 1/2″ rounds. Dice the shallots and the garlic. The beauty of this recipe is that the cuts don’t have to be completely uniform or beautiful as all the ingredients will pureed together later. Just take care to make the pieces roughly the same size to ensure even cooking.
- 3. Heat up a saute pan over medium-high heat. When the pan has been preheated sufficiently, add a swirl of olive oil (I used around 1 Tablespoon). When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chopped shallots and garlic and stir-fry, stirring constantly so that the garlic and shallots don’t burn.
- 4. After 1 minute, add the zucchini and a pinch of salt and toss it together with the garlic and shallots. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the pan looks a little dry, you can add a little water or chicken
- broth, or even a splash of white wine to lubricate and deglaze the pan. This also helps to lift the browned bits of zucchini, garlic and shallots from the bottom of the pan (referred to as the “fond”), and adds to the overall yumminess of the dish.
- 5. When the zucchini are fork-tender, remove the pan from the heat and add the contents to a blender, along with 1 C of liquid of your choice (chicken, vegetable broth or water) and the basil leaves. Take care to place the lid on the blender and hold it down with a towel when you blend unless you want zucchini soup all over your kitchen (trust me, I’ve been there). If you have an immersion blender, you can blend the contents along with the liquid and basil in your stock pot.
- 6. When the soup is velvety smooth, transfer it to a stock pot and gently reheat it to your desired temperature. This is a good time to taste for salt; add it now if you so choose.
- 7. Ladle into soup bowls, and finish it with a few cracks of good black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Enjoy!
Note: This soup also tastes delicious chilled. Top with a dollop of creme fraiche or greek yogurt and I imagine it would make a lovely summer dish.