If you have friends growing zucchini, right about now they are probably delighted, bordering on desperate, to give some of it away. Especially problematic are those huge, baseball bat-sized monsters, that appear out of the blue when you’ve neglected to check the garden for a few days. This soup is made for such occasions. It uses lots of zucchini, it cooks up quickly, perfect for a midweek meal, and it keeps for at least a week in the fridge. I like it just as well chilled as hot.
If you are using extra large zucchini, scoop out and discard the seeds first. And if the skin is thick or tough, peel it and discard the peels.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno chile (or more to taste, depending on how spicy you would like the soup to be), seeds, stems and ribs removed and discarded, chopped
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 pounds chopped zucchini (skin on), about 5-6 cups
- 1 1/2 cups chopped day-old bread
- 3 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (spearmint), loosely packed, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed, chopped (optional)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeno chile and sauté for 4-5 minutes until the onions are translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic and zucchini and sauté for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle with salt.
2 Add the bread, broth, and water, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
3 Remove from heat. Add the mint and cilantro (if using). Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Or use an immersion blender.
4 Return the soup to the pot. Add the lemon juice, and salt, and pepper to taste.
Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of mint or cilantro.
Serve hot or chilled. Keeps for a week in the fridge.