This probably is not the best way to start this blog by saying I was NOT a zucchini fan all my life. I shared the experience that changed that forever below (plug moment: Thanks Mimi for helping me realize what I have been missing out on!) – I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did reminiscing and chronicling it for you. But, let’s get down to business. So … why the heck would you want to even make this recipe? Let me tell you why:
- Hands down – it makes your house smell amazing! I can’t say how many times people have walked into my house by some chance I am cooking, or finished, cooking this recipe and they are put in a trance!
- It is SO versatile. You can use is as a main course – as a compliment to a main dish – as a cool summer gazpacho – or even as an appetizer! Don’t limit this recipe my friend.
- The kids actually eat it! I am not joking – I promise 🙂 I feel I have pretty picky eaters around here with my two little people and they will actually accept this as something they will eat.
Family Rating: 8.5
If you have seen any of my other recipes you will find I will share the 1-10 scale rating each of us in the family give a dish. The rating for this soup? The family average for this recipe is: 8.5
- A (my eight year old daughter) gives this an 8
- M (my eleven year old son) gives this a 7 (this is actually quite high given he won’t even look at anything green!)
- G (my lovely husband) gives this a 9 (he’ll never admit it’s a ten because I think he feels he’d betray his mother)
- B (myself) gives this a 10 (why? I could eat this twice in one day with no problem!)
Oh .. and you bet ya I ate the soup that I used to prep the photos for this blog!
How I Fell In Love With Zucchini: The Short Story
Marrying into a French family has its perk, and one in particular is the lifelong adoration I have formed for my mother-in-laws’ zucchini soup. Being raised as the second oldest of five siblings, where the common meal in the household was either a box of Hamburger Helper, or a quick trip to Whataburger for a quick burger-fix, the appreciation for natural produce and all it can become was as foreign to me as the French language. Yet, one breezy and sunny day in the south of France, while visiting my extended in-law family, I was forever changed in my ignorance towards zucchini. I remember this experience quite vividly. Given the only value I could contribute to the eating experience at my mother-in-laws’ house was in setting the table at every meal, I took to my responsibility in preparing the table for lunch that day. The sunroom wasn’t grand by size, but it was by the amount of light coming through, which made me giddy most because the breeze can always put me in a miserable state (for those that know me know that I seriously don’t like being cold!). As we all took to our place at the table, sitting nestled at our small table that offered little room for all four plates, cutlery, and wine glasses, my mother-in-law walks in with a tray holding four small bowls, all filled with a light, deep-lime green substance. Curiosity and disappointment both rushed synchronously, mostly because being Texan-born I find the main course is what I yearn for most. Whatever this green stuff is was surely not going to be tasteful, nor offer any form of contentment. Bowl on plate – check; spoon in hand – check; everyone seated – check; courage to eat the soup – working on it. I dipped my spoon into the bowl and made sure it wasn’t a large portion. I want to come across as being ladylike by not consuming a large bite, but I know deep down the true reason for my first bite’s amount is only because of the fear I am holding for the horrible taste this may be; I don’t want my adopted French habit of being too expressive in my face to come across insulting. Here it goes – the big bite.
Almost like the story of Goldie Lochs was transpiring in my taste buds, the soup wasn’t too bland, it wasn’t too sweet – it was just right! The texture offered a creaminess that became a pleasant blanket on my tongue. I found small specks of zucchini pieces nuzzled on the crevices behind my molars, but this isn’t met with a cringe and instead with an unpredictable smile. As I turn my gaze from my bowl up to my mother-in-law I find her eyes connecting with mine, and our smiles becoming twins; it was almost if she knew she was forever changing me! That bite transformed my prejudice of food, forever, and I didn’t want that transformation to end; therefore, I took myself by surprise by doing something I’ve never done – I closed my eyes, letting any residing negative doubt of zucchini dissipate, and put more trust in my taste senses. I was not disappointed – the second bite proved more rewarding than the first when I was able to taste the subtleness of garlic and the transcendent sweetness of the zucchini. I opened my eyes and was ready to respectfully devour the rest of the bowl, and perhaps even ask for seconds. I took the opportunity to enjoy every bite of the soup, purposely disengaging in the lunchtime conversation at the table so that my mind could only focus on each bite’s taste. As I finished my bowl I found myself back to the same state I was before eating the bowl of zucchini soup, curious and disappointed: disappointed there wasn’t enough to offer a second serving, and curious when my mother-in-law offered to teach me the recipe!
- 1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 2-3 Shallots
- 1 Pinch of Salt
- 2 Pinches of Grated Black Pepper
- 3-4 Zucchinis
- 1 Cup of Vegetable Stock
- 1 Pint of Creme Fraiche, or Heavy (Optional. Adds a creamier texture should you want that)
GARNISH INGREDIENTS (Optional):
- 2 Pinches of Black Pepper
- Sprinkles of Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Dollop of Sour Cream,
- Large Sauce Pan with Lid
- Cutting Board
- Cutting Knife
- Garlic Press
- Measuring Cups
- Servings: 4 Persons, small portion size (double recipe if preparing for large serving size)
- Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
- Cooking Time: 25-35 Minutes
- Serving Tips: You can serve this dish warm, or cold. It is a great appetizer dish if served in small portion, or as a main dish if served in larger potion. Serving with toasted bread, served with butter, also compliments the fullness of the dish. Garnish suggestions are also optional.
Preparing the sauté of the Garlic and Shallots: The first objective in preparing the meal is in getting the garlic and shallots sautéed.
- Place the large saucepan onto the stove and place the heat at medium-low temperature.
- Pour 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil into the large saucepan. Make sure it spreads as evenly as possible.
- Take 1 garlic clove and press it with the garlic press. Place the pressed garlic into the large saucepan.
- Chop your shallots and also place into the large saucepan along with the garlic.
- With the large sauce pan on the medium-low temperature on the stove, sauté the garlic and shallots with the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
Preparing the sauté of the Zucchini: While the garlic is being sautéed in the large saucepan on the stove you can begin the preparations of the zucchinis.
- Without peeling, slice the zucchinis into thin slices. (Hint: The thinner the slices the more transparent the zucchinis become during the cooking state, and more flavor is introduced into the soup). Once all zucchinis are sliced, place them into the large saucepan.
- Pour the remaining 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil into the large sauce pan.
- Add the 1 pinch of salt into the large saucepan.
- Add the 2 pinches of black pepper into the large saucepan.
- Stir the combined ingredients in the large saucepan until the zucchinis are coated well with olive oil.
- Increase the heat of the stove from low to medium temperature. Let the zucchini sauté in the large saucepan until you find they are transparent within their centers. (Hint: This may take between 10-15 minutes.)
- Once you find the zucchinis are transparent within their center, reduce the heat of the stove from medium back to low.
- Add the 1 cup of vegetable stock into the large sauce pan.
- Cover the large saucepan with a lid and let the ingredients simmer on low temperature for 20 minutes.
Transforming the ingredients into a soup: Now that the ingredients are well prepared, it is time to puree and make into a soup.
- Turn the stove off.
- Pour the cooked ingredients found within the large saucepan into the blender. Blend the ingredients on a speed best for soup, or that offers for puree consistency. If you wish for a creamier texture for your soup, while the blender is puree-ing, slowly pour in the 1 pint of creme fraiche until there is even consistency.
- Pour the soup into a serving dish, or individual bowls, and enjoy!