Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zucchini Everywhere
What’s cooking? Cold Zucchini Soup

Today is my friend Gusty’s birthday, so I hope any of you who are interested in writing will check out her posting about Sno-cones and writing over at A Good Blog is Hard to Find. Or take a look at her own site:

One of the great pleasures of visiting Nantucket is my friend Laurie’s garden. And while the excess of cool, wet weather they’ve had in the Northeast this year has inhibited her crop of tomatoes, her zucchini plants are spreading like gossip in high school.

At dinner last night, I made an eggplant-free ratatouille of sorts (the purple stuff being the only veggie I don’t like), sauteing an onion and garlic in some olive oil, then adding chopped zucchini and local tomatoes, with a few sliced sun-dried tomatoes for sweetness. Cook just until the zucchini is done to taste (I like mine on the firm side), then season with salt and pepper (we used lemon pepper, which worked really well). Sprinkle pecorino romano over the top at the end. Cover it for a minute to let the cheese melt, and dig in.

Yum. As with most of these concoctions, the best part is adjusting the ingredients to your own tastes. (Like, for instance, leaving out the eggplant.)

But my favorite squash recipe is Laurie’s cold zucchini soup. Just right for lunch or a light start to a summer dinner from the grill.

Laurie’s Cold Zucchini Soup

1 ½ pounds unskinned zucchini
1 medium onion
4 tablespoons butter
3-3½ cups chicken broth
½ cup half-and-half
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Slice zucchini and sauté in butter with onion for 5 minutes until just soft. Add broth and salt and reduce heat. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Stir in nutmeg.

Ladle one-third of the veggies and broth into a blender, add half-and-half, and purée. Add remaining veggies and broth and purée until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled. Serves six as a first course.

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