My friend Lisa, the champion gardener, gave me a big bag of hefty zucchini and squash (below) to do with what I pleased. She did not seem to be able to bake zucchini bread fast enough! I gladly helped her out and whisked them home before she had a chance to change her mind. Having a summer garden is a feast or famine experience. In the winter, you would give anything for a freshly picked vegetable, whereas in the summer you have to give your bounty away or it can swallow you up! Between what I grow, what I am pleaded to take off my friend’s and neighbor’s hands, and my CSA crop share, I never have to walk into the vegetable aisle of my supermarket from June to November!
I must confess that zucchini bread doesn’t come to mind when I have lots of this vegetable to use up. I prefer to do things like stuff them, bake them, or make a delicious soup. I think curried zucchini soup is one of my favorite summer soups. I love the silky smooth texture and the sea of green flecks from the pulverized skin. The curry powder adds the rich yellow color and a lovely counter-balance to this mild tasting vegetable.
I love it as a first course. It somehow manages to impress, despite it’s simplicity. It is also great with a nice piece of crusty bread and a mild-flavored cheese for lunch, or a light dinner. I adore this soup!
You will need: 3 big zucchini, or mixture of zucchini & squash, thickly sliced, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 medium/large sweet onion, diced, 1 fresh thyme sprig, (if you have it; don’t run out to buy one especially!), 1/2 tbs curry powder (I used a strong vindaloo powder), 5 cups water, 1 good quality stock cube (I use Rapunzel brand; type in search box to read more in my pantry section), OR 3 cups chicken broth & 2 cups water, 3/4 cup heavy cream, coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper.
1 – Put 3 or 4 qt pot on medium heat and add oil. When it has warmed, add the onions and thyme spring and cook for 10 minutes (until onions have softened). Add the curry powder and cook for another minute.
2 – Add the chopped zucchini and squash (if you are using) and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 – Add the water , 1/2 tsp salt and several grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes (until zucchini are soft but not falling apart).
4 – Turn off heat, remove the thyme sprig, and let the soup cool for about 5 minutes. Using a big slotted spoon, transfer all the vegetables to your food processor with a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and the heavy cream. Blend until it is as smooth as you can get it. Pour back into soup pot, making sure to scrape the sides of the processor with a spatula to get every last drop. Reheat on stove-top adding a little more broth or water if you desire a thinner soup.
Serve with crusty bread or on its own as an elegant first course.