Seasonal pantry: 3 ways to enjoy your abundant zucchini crop
A few days ago, a reader asked what to do with all the zucchini in her garden, a question one hears through the summer growing season.
Zucchini, even a single plant, can pose a problem to the home cook as they seem to grow and reproduce while your back is turned. It is all but impossible to keep up.
If you are in a zucchini rut, it can feel overwhelming if you’re growing it. Just how much stewed zucchini or ratatouille can one person eat? There are many other ways to enjoy it both raw, lightly cooked, and turned into soups, risottos, and pasta dishes. Today’s recipes offer delicious ways to keep up with the harvest.
This refreshing soup is remarkably creamy, so voluptuous that people who don’t cook much often insist that it has a lot of cream in it. But it has none; it is the zucchini itself that creates the creamy texture and depth of flavor. It is delicious both chilled and hot and is a delicious way to use up garden zukes.
Chilled Zucchini Soup
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small yellow, cut into small dice
6 garlic cloves, minced
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
6 cups homemade chicken broth, chicken stock or vegetable broth
— Whole milk yogurt
— Fresh basil leaves
Put the butter and olive oil into a medium or large saucepan set over medium heat and when the butter is melted, add the zucchini and sauté, turning 2 or 3 times, until it begins to pick up some color, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and several turns of black pepper and transfer to a plate.
Add the onion to the pan, reduce the heat and sauté gently until the onion is soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more.
Return the zucchini and any juices to the pan, add the broth or stock, increase the heat to medium and simmer until the zucchini is tender, from 3 to 6 minutes or a bit longer if using Romanesco zucchini.
Remove from the heat and let rest about 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or pass through a food mill. Taste and correct for salt and pepper. Pour into a large bowl or tureen, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and as long as overnight.
To serve, ladle into soup plates, top with a very generous dollop of yogurt and a few basil leaves and enjoy right away.
Variation: To serve hot, remove from the soup from the heat, cover, and set aside briefly. Cut a medium Romanesco zucchini into medium julienne and sauté in butter until lightly browned. Season with salt, pepper, and a little squeeze of lemon juice. Divide this zucchini among individual soup plates and top with hot soup. Add a generous dollop of yogurt and a few basil leaves to each portion and enjoy right away.
Zucchini “noodles” – raw zucchini cut into long, thin julienne using a mandoline, available in almost any cookware store – have become increasing popular in recent years, as people search for substitutes for wheat-based pasta. But you needn’t be allergic to wheat or gluten intolerant to enjoy zucchini prepared in this way.