Posted by: A Part of the Solution | July 26, 2010

The Baron’s Zucchini Soup

Since it’s the time of the Curcurbita family, I’ll be putting up things to do with the veggies we all have too many of. If the zucchini don’t get taken by mildew, root rot or bugs, they tend to overproduce when they’re productive. I don’t mind. I happen to like zucchini. I like it sautéed. I like it in ratatouille. I like it gratined. I like grilled. I like it stuffed and stewed. The way ol’ Bubba was about shrimp, so am I about zucchini (it’s great in muffins, pancakes and bread too).

I’ve done a lot of things with and to a zucchini in my day. The most memorable was a combination of time, place and ingredients–the way life’s peak food experiences are. And this is where the baron comes into it. Actually, the baron doesn’t come into it. But his zucchini does. Maybe I should call it the Baron’s Zucchini’s Soup…

I was visiting the parents of a friend. They lived in Germany at the time. They rented an apartment in a castle–well, the castle close–outside of Bonn. I sat in the courtyard of said castle, admiring the long summer afternoon. I looked across to the circular driveway where a Rabbit (silver) was parked in front of the walk to the castle proper. On top of the Rabbit were a number of largish (for being small) dark green somethings. After a minute’s scrutiny, without getting up from my pleasant shady bench seat, I decided the green things were zucchini–it being the right time of year and our having passed a large vegetable garden on the grounds as we drove in.

A short time later, a large blond man appeared and started getting into the car. He noticed me and stopped. “Would you like a… (he thought of the word) zucchini?” He asked in heavily accented English. “Sure,” I answered. I walked over and he laid a zucchini larger than any child you could wish to give birth to in my arms. It was heavier even than it looked. He seemed pleased to have got rid of one of the too large, too numerous vegetables plaguing him.

This is what I did with it (though I’ve scaled back the volume considerably):

The Baron’s Zucchini Soup

3 lbs zucchini, split lengthwise and seeded

3 oz potato, peeled and cut in small dice

2  cups light vegetable stock or chicken stock

1- 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

12 basil leaves, chiffonaded (cut in thin strips across)

salt and pepper

2 1/2 TBSP cream or 1 TBSP Butter (optional)

Cut the zucchini into two centimeter squares. Put it and the potato and stock into a pot with a lid. Bring the ingredients up to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep them at a low seethe for fifteen minutes. Strain out the solids and process them until smooth in a blender or food processor. Add the stock back in, as well as seasonings–use only enough lemon juice to brighten the zucchini flavor, don’t let it dominate this delicate dish. Finish this with a dollop of cream or a swirl of butter if you like. Serve it with the chiffonade of basil. This is good hot, warm or cold. If you serve it cold, increase the seasonings somewhat as the chill of the fridge dulls them on the palate.

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