Sunday, August 4, 2013

Zucchini Soup with Garlic and Basil

The zucchini keeps coming and thus so too do the recipes. Much to my own surprise, despite the fact I've eaten zucchini in some capacity every day for a couple of weeks, I'm still not sick of it. To my credit, I've made a real effort to mix up my preparations, from fritters to cookies to pastas to salads to sandwiches to chips and everything in between. For all the recipe ideas my coworkers and I have discussed, I got a few quizzical looks when I said I was going to make zucchini soup. But what better kind of recipe to make when you need to use up a lot of one vegetable? Were it just your basic butter + onions + broth + salt and pepper recipe, this soup would be pleasant and fresh, though not terribly interesting, but the generous amounts of basil and garlic make this soup profoundly flavorful. This recipe is a perfect for using up those zucchini too large for grilling or sauteeing when you've tested the limits of your love or zucchini bread (or have a bounty in the herb garden as well). Happily frozen for later use, this will store the bounty of summer in your freezer (perhaps next to some zucchini bread?) until the depths of winter when you'll have exhausted your love of root vegetables. Simple, flavorful, freezable, and easily multipliable, this recipe will easily turn mountains of summer squash into days of dinners, either for the dog days of summer or the depths of winter.

Zucchini Soup with Garlic and Basil
adapted from The Kitchn/Gourmet
makes about 1 1/2 quarts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 white onion, sliced
8 to 9 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, about 4 medium
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
1/3 cup packed basil leaves
Salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter (or heat in the oil) in a heavy 4-quart pot over medium heat. When it foams, add the sliced garlic and onions and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Keep the heat low enough that the garlic doesn't brown; you want everything to sweat.

2. When the onions are soft, add the zucchini and cook until soft. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer at a low heat for about 45 minutes.

3. Let cool slightly, add basil, then blend with an immersion blender until creamy, or transfer to a standing blender to puree. Be very careful if you use the latter; only fill the blender half full with each batch, and hold the lid down tightly with a towel.

4. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Like most soups, this is significantly better after a night in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld.

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