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Zucchini-Lemon Soup



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Zucchini-Lemon Soup

Cook and the Gardener:
A Year of Recipes and Writings
from the French Countryside

by Amanda Hesser, 1999,
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

(from Summer – July)

“This is a great way to use up old zucchini, when raw, old zucchini are
about as interesting as a day-old newspaper. Light cooking and a little
lemon in this soup refreshes the vegetable.
If you have a ton of zucchini, double or triple the recipe, omitting the
milk and the heavy cream. Freeze it in plastic containers. Then, when
zucchini is out of season, you can defrost it, warm it in a pan, and
finish it with the milk and cream.”

Serves 4

Special Equipment: Parchment paper (optional);
food processor or immersion blender

2 – 3 medium or 2 large zucchini
(about 2 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus
more for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 shallot lobe, sliced thin lengthwise
2 tablespoons white wine
Coarse or kosher salt
1 cup milk, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon chopped wild thyme or
regular French thyme (about 4 sprigs)

1. Peel and seed the zucchini: Zucchini rarely needs much prepping aside from purging [salting and allowing to stand for 20 minutes to draw out
the water], but for this dish you want a light-colored smooth soup, so
some work is required. Begin by cutting off the stem and flower ends
close to the zucchini flesh. Then use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin
from the zucchini. (If it bothers you to waste this, you may include it;
or reserve it and sauté the strips of skin in olive oil for another meal.)
Cut the zucchini lengthwise in half, then in quarters. If the zucchini are
older and the seeds are large, you will want to remove them by laying
each quarter on its side and cutting along where the seeds and flesh
meet. Discard the seeds. If the zucchini are very young, the seeds are
usually insignificant and can remain a part of the soup. Now cut the
quarters crosswise into even-sized cubes (about 1 inch).
2. In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil with half of the grated lemon
zest, all of the zucchini, and the garlic, shallot, and white wine. Season
lightly with salt, and lay a piece of parchment paper or a lid over the
mixture to cover. Sweat over medium-low heat, stirring from time to
time, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the zucchini is soft all the way through
and there are just a few tablespoons of liquid remaining in the pan. You
may have to do this in two batches if you do not have a very large pan.
If so, omit the garlic and shallots from the second batch.
3. Purée in a food processor fitted with a steel blade or with an immersion blender directly in the pan (if it is deep enough), then pass through a
sieve. Now you’re probably asking, “Why did I have to bother remov-
ing the seeds if it’s going through a sieve?” Because the seeds are just
small enough to clog your sieve and make this step a slow, painful one.
In a large saucepan, combine the puree with the milk, cream, and
thyme. The soup should be light and creamy, so you may need to
add more milk or water to attain the right consistency. (Water may be
better, because you do not want the soup to taste milky.)
4. Heat through, adjust the seasoning, and ladle into four individual bowls. Serve warm or cool, drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling some of
the remaining grated lemon zest on top of each serving just before
going to the table.

Featured Archive Recipes:
August, from 'The Cook and the Gardener'
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Chilled Avocado and Zucchini Soup
Chilled Ratatouille Champagne Soup
Cold Corn and Zucchini Soup
Lemon Zucchini Vichyssoise

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