COLD YELLOW ZUCCHINI SOUP
Note: A potato in the mix helps create a thick, silky soup. Make sure to use yellow zucchini, not yellow summer squash; it has a more vibrant color. If you choose to make this vegetarian, use a light-colored rather than a darker vegetable broth, or the soup will look muddy; or use water. The soup needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours before serving. From Debbie Amster.
• 6 thin leeks, chopped (1 lb.; about 5 c.)
• 2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
• Sea salt
• 1 lb. yellow zucchini, sliced (about 3 c.; see Note)
• 1 medium white potato, coarsely chopped (about 11/2 c.)
• Up to 4 c. no-salt-added vegetable or chicken broth or water (see Note)
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Chopped dill, for garnish
Fill a bowl with cold water and add the chopped leeks; soak them briefly to dislodge any grit. Use a strainer to scoop the leeks out of the water, and use paper towels to pat them dry.
Heat the oil or butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt; cook until the leeks have softened, about 6 minutes. Add the zucchini and potato, then add enough broth to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, adjusting the heat so that the liquid is barely bubbling at the edges.
Use an immersion blender and blend to a thick purée. (Alternatively, if you use a regular blender, purée in batches and do not fill the blender container more than half full.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Allow the soup to cool, then transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, garnish with sprigs of dill.
Nutrition information per serving (using olive oil and vegetable broth):
Calories 110 Fat 4 g Sodium 180 mg
Carbohydrates 17 g Saturated fat 1 g Protein 2 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 2 g
BEET AND TOMATO BISQUE
Note: This soup is a looker: beautifully crimson and quite thick. It can be served hot or cold. From Debbie Amster.
• 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 1 medium onion, diced (1 c.)
• 1 medium garlic clove, minced (1 tsp. )
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 lb. (4 small) red beets, peeled
• 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut crosswise in half
• 28 oz. canned plum tomatoes, drained
• 41/2 c. no-salt-added vegetable or chicken broth
• 2 tsp. sugar
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 5 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
• 2 tbsp. minced parsley
• Sour cream or yogurt, for garnish
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and salt, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. Add the beets, carrots, tomatoes, broth and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 1 hour, adjusting the heat so the liquid is just barely bubbling around the edges.
Use an immersion blender and blend briefly to a coarse purée. (Alternatively, if you use a regular blender, purée in batches and do not fill the blender container more than half full.)
Stir in the pepper, lemon juice, parsley and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Serve hot or cold, garnished with sour cream or yogurt.
Nutrition information per serving (using vegetable broth):
Calories 140 Fat 5 g Sodium 580 mg
Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 1 g
Protein 3 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
FRENCH-STYLE SUMMER PISTOU
Note: Top this with croutons and Gruyere and provolone cheeses, then run it under the broiler. From chef Tracy O'Grady of Willow restaurant in Arlington, Va.
• 41/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1/2 c. carrot, cut into small dice
• 1/2 c. onion, cut into small dice
• 1/2 c. celery, cut into small dice
• 1/2 c. fennel, cut into small dice
• 1 small leek, white and light-green parts cut in half lengthwise, then each half cut crosswise into thin slices to yield 1/2 c. and soaked briefly in water to remove grit
• 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• Crushed red pepper flakes
• 1/2 c. diced fresh or good-quality canned tomatoes
• 1/2 c. dry sherry (optional)
• 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
• 12 stems thyme, tied with kitchen twine into a bouquet
• 8 c. vegetable broth or water
• 2 c. mixed summer beans or peas of your choice, each variety cooked separately until just tender (possibilities include shell beans, fresh lima beans, fava beans, green or yellow beans, peas, snap peas)
• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
• Kosher salt
• Cracked black pepper
• 9 tbsp. prepared pesto
Heat 21/2 tablespoons of the oil in a 4-quart nonreactive soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, fennel, leek and garlic; cook gently, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sherry, if using, and the sherry vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pot to dislodge any browned bits. Cook until the liquid in the pot has reduced by half. Add the thyme bouquet and the broth or water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low (as needed) and cook for 20 minutes, adjusting the heat so that the liquid is barely bubbling at the edges.
Just before serving, add the cooked beans and peas; bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat; discard the thyme bouquet and stir in the basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into individual bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon of pesto and drizzle equally with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 220 Fat 14 g Sodium 390 mg
Carbohydrates 18 g Saturated fat 2 g Protein 5 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g