perhaps you are asking yourself, why on god's green earth would anyone be making soup – and we are talking hot soup here, not chilled refreshing gazpacho – not only in the middle of summer, but in the middle of the worst heat wave this country has seen in a long, long time?
well, i didn't leave the house yesterday. the somm and i cranked up the ac, lowered the blinds, settled our tushes into the couch and took shelter.
i didn't even go to the gym. its getting serious.
but back to the soup. a friend sent me the recipe. i thanked her. i was close to moving on. i'm not a soup person. my mom – she is all about the soup. soup just doesn't always get it done for me.
then my friend sent a one sentence email: the zucchini soup will change your life.
talk about getting serious. i'm in!
we're going to start with some onions.
diced onion is going to get up close and personal with more butter and olive oil than i usually use (sorry honey!) and some thyme and bay. i took a picture, frankly it didn't look as appetizing as it smelled. butter. mmm.
add your chunked zucchini and chicken stock. i used some homemade stock from the freezer. the sommelier came that much closer to finding the ice cream sandwiches.
once it's all cooked up together, you blend it up. you know, in your blender. or use one of those fancy immersion blender wands. i don't have one, although some kind person did buy me one for my wedding. i had registered for it and everything. i thought it might inspire me to make soup. i had visions of sharing soup recipes with my mother. then it arrived and i looked at it and realized that, really, i'm not a soup person. i returned it and put the money towards filling out my pots and pans set. my sincere apologies. but seriously, i'm using the hell out of those pots and pans.
soup therapy session over! time for the croutons! you're going to need lots of basil.
i keep mine in a vase. with my flowers.
god, i love the woman who sells the flowers at my farmers market. she puts basil IN THE ARRANGEMENTS sometimes. purple basil – do you see it back there? love. it. so does manchego. check him out surveying his domain.
moments after this photo was taken, he started gnawing on the flower arrangements.
anyway. i saved the basil from the gatito. and let me pass along this advice: do not skip the croutons. they are buttery, basily cubes of goodness.
let them get all brown and toasty.
so good. i am that much closer to being a soup person.
and mom – you should try this soup. here's the recipe!
Zucchini Soup with Basil Croutons
from Food & Wine Magazine
- 3 tbs butter
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 3 celery ribs, peeled and diced (I didn't have celery. I didn't miss it.)
- 1 medium onion, minced (I may have subbed extra onion for the missing celery. But I can never tell what a "medium" onion is supposed to be.)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 lb zucchini (F&W said to use little guys, I used two big dudes. Eh.)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Salt & Pepper
- More basil
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the celery, onion, bay leaf and thyme and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to moderate. Stir in the zucchini and stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer the soup until the zucchini is soft, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
- 2 tbs butter
- 1/3 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 cups-ish country bread, cut into 1/2 ince dice
- Salt & Pepper
In a large skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Stir in the chopped basil, then add the bread cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Season the bread cubes with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the bread cubes are lightly toasted and crispy. Transfer to a plate.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. This is important – soup expand when it gets hot and blended. Leave a little air hole at the top of your blender. Enough for steam, not enough to splatter soup everywhere. You'll be sad.
Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat gently. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the croutons and basil leaves and serve.