Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chilled Zucchini-Basil Soup

With all of the fine dining occurring around here lately (none of it happening in our kitchen), it was good to have an opportunity to finally re-engage the Commissary for a simple mid-week meal. I had a zucchini and a plethora of sweet basil in our weekly farmbox to ponder and, as often happens, the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) came to the rescue with just the recipe that I needed. The WSJ article in question highlighted ways to use basil other than making pesto (which we already do quite a bit) and the dish that intrigued me most was a cold soup, perfect for a hot summer evening. The recipe itself was pretty easy and not terribly time consuming, other than an hour or two for chill time in the refrigerator. Pair the soup up with a good crusty bread (I could have made our house rustic loaf, but went for a Costco pre-made garlic artisan bread instead) and you've got a light supper to counteract the extreme overeating that's becoming de rigeur among the adult Hackknives these days.

Bring 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Drop in 1.5 lb zucchini, trimmed (but not peeled), seeded, and cut into small chunks, 1 spring onion (also known as a knob onion or cebollita) trimmed and sliced, and 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper and return to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, partially cover pot, and cook 10-12 minutes more or until zucchini is easily pierced with a knife. Working in small batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled (about an hour or two). Just before serving, puree 1 packed cup of basil leaves with 1 cup chilled soup. Stir the puree into remaining soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour into soup bowls or glasses to serve. Garnish with a swirl of heavy cream, if desired.

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