Maybe you guys are familiar with a certain awkward situation I’ve found myself stuck in a short time ago: a situation that usually begins with a train of thought the displays at the farmers market might inspire, somewhere in the neighborhood of “Oh this looks pretty! There’s always something delicious to be made with this, can’t hurt to take one along… right?”.
At some point, seemingly out of the blue, you might find your storage space brimming over with that particular item a while later because you’ve never actually followed up on the initial thought and, in addition, kept failing to resist the pretties on the following market-runs. Well, I recently found myself in the kitchen, being forced to face and accept the fact that I’ve been a bit of a zucchini-hoarder in the past couple of weeks. Lovely zucchinis at the height of their season, in all shapes and sizes, anxiously waiting to be used for something delicious – preferably before someone would notice and have me institutionalized… Anyways, accepting the problem is the first step forward, right~? So I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. A couple of zoodle lunches, a two-day batch of ratatouille and several salad variations later, I still had a couple zucchinis left over… yep, this one went way out of hand! Thankfully, mother nature sent us a rainy weekend-break from the late-summer heat, giving me the perfect chance to put an end to the zucchini-craze in a yumtastic way before the last survivors decided to grow legs and walk away on their own in protest: a deliciously light and summery soup~
This one works wonderfully well both as a warm and chilled soup – so, as long as you have fresh zucchini and apricots on hand, you can fit this one to the temperatures outside~
The Zucchini, Apricot & Almond Soup
800g Zucchini, topped, tailed, halved and cut into ½ cm half-moons
200g ripe Apricots, pitted and quartered
5 dried Apricots, roughly chopped
1 small Leek, white and light green parts only, cut into ½ cm half-moons
2 Cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
50g Almonds, blanched and skinned
500ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock
2 Sprigs of Thyme
Herbed Salt and Pepper to taste
Opt: Herb- or Garlic Croutons to top off the deal~
A word on the almonds in advance: While they work perfectly fine simply blanched and skinned, you can boost their aroma by roasting them to a pretty-in-gold state the evening before and leaving them to soak in the stock you’re planning to use for the soup overnight.
1) Set a large pot onto medium heat and add the butter after about 1 min.
2) Once the butter has melted, add the leeks and sauté them for 2-3 mins until they start to soften.
3) Add the dried apricots, thyme leaves and garlic and allow the lot to heat through for 2-3 mins.
4) Fold in the zucchini along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and pop on the lid for a while, giving the veggies about 5 mins to sweat.
5) Pour in the stock and stir up the veggies, then turn the heat to high and bring the liquid up to a rapid boil.
6) Turn the heat down to low as soon as the soup hits the bubbly stage, add the fresh apricots and almonds and leave it to simmer for 5-10 mins until the veggies are tender.
7) Move the soup into a heatproof blender jug and give it about 5 mins to cool down a notch before whizzing it into a smooth, creamy soup.
8) Just in case your zucchinis were on the drier side of things, keep a bit of stock in easy reach to adjust the consistency – but hold the texture-related taste-and-judge routine until all of the solids are thoroughly whizzed though.
9) For an extra-silky touch, strain the soup through a fine sieve on its way back into the pot – if you’re hungry or like your soups a bit creamier, ditch the sieve and pour it back into the pot without further ado.
10) Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. For an extra zing, stir in a few drops of lemon juice just before serving~
Alright~! Zucchini-problem solved… now I just need to find a way to use up the pile of fresh habaneros that mysteriously appeared in my kitchen in the meantime. *Sigh*