Is it just me, or does zucchini season start earlier and earlier every year?
I mean, I thought we wouldn’t be inundated until late August . . . Well, in fact, I’m not inundated, I’m charmed. The zucchini are so small and sweet right now that I can’t help but buy them. Yes, I know, I know. They’ll soon be giant monsters breeding in every garden and sitting on every staffroom table with a sign pleading for me to please, please just take it away.
That means it’s time to take stock of our zucchini recipes and get ready for the onslaught. And speaking of stock, zucchini can become a lovely sophisticated, silky soup. Yes, I know those are not normally zucchini adjectives. But you will just have to trust me, because I speak truth.
This recipe comes by way of Halifax from a Hungarian friend who says it’s a German recipe. Ah, Canada, the multicultural mosaic.
You start by slowly wilting your onions in a good whack of butter and a bit of olive oil to keep that same butter from burning. The onions start to glisten and look like very happy onions indeed.
See, doesn’t that look like a plump, buttery onion?
Then you add a bunch of shredded zucchini, which look like green and yellow ribbons, but make you raise an eyebrow as you wonder exactly how they will transform into sophisticated, silky soup.
You simmer that up with the stock for exactly 12 minutes. (Are you starting to see why this is such a lovely summer recipe? Yes, your kitchen won’t overheat from prolonged stove usage!)
Now, time for magic ingredient number one: white wine. In our case, Gewürztraminer. (Tomorrow, it might be Chardonnay. If you enjoy drinking the wine, I don’t think it can go wrong in your soup.)
Purée that, and you’ll start to see some silkiness creeping in . . .
Now, to finish, stir in magic ingredient number two: the so-rich-it’s-almost-sour-cream plain yogourt. Also, a bit of basil from your little garden.
Gently, gently heat it a little more if it’s a bit too cool for your taste, taking care not to bring it to a boil. (You don’t want to give the yogurt any bad ideas and suddenly separate into curds. Remember: coddle, not curdle.)
Ladle into bowls and serve with a bit more of that fresh basil. A silky and sophisticated way to ease into zucchini season, if I do say so myself.
last july: minestrone with summer herbs
german zucchini soup
serves 3 - 4
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. butter
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt or 1/4 tsp. regular salt
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. black pepper, to taste
2 1/4 c. zucchini, shredded
2 c. vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. plain yogurt, preferably high fat
fresh basil, chopped
Heat thick saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt butter and olive oil in pan. Add onion and sauté. Turn heat down to cook slowly. After 5 minutes, throw in the garlic, salt and pepper. Fry until onion is almost transparent, about 10 minutes. The onion will glisten and look almost soupy.
Add zucchini and stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 12 minutes, uncovered.
Stir in the wine. Whir it all together with an immersion blender or regular blender until it’s creamy. Return to heat. Stir in yogurt and about half of the basil. Heat gently, but don’t let it boil, for fear it will curdle.
Ladle into serving bowls. Place a few bits of basil on top. Serve.