Sunday, June 14, 2009

zucchini spinach basil soup w/ corn

I came across this soups beginnings at a little bistro in Silver Lake called Blair's. Dependable for lunch, really really decent for dinner. It's a charming place and the dinner menu is my kind of eating. Homey, farm to table centric, creative. Understated but elegant.

I have no idea what
Blair's actual recipe is but I found myself craving it one day and noticed I had the key ingredients in my fridge and freezer so I set out to make it as closely as I could. This one is pretty close actually. So, here it is, loaded with vitamins, iron, fiber and really tasty. Excellent paired with a salad of red oak lettuce, currents and blue cheese dressing. Make it in large batches. It freezes well. Add corn to each dish never to the whole pot.

Ideally we pick our own squash, corn, basil, leeks and perhaps even our spinach straight out of our own kitchen gardens, those beautiful landscapes we look out at every morning as we sip our tea and plan our day. But maybe you, like me, get most of your goods at a local farmers market and make up the difference at your local Trader Joe's or if you can afford it, Whole Foods. Or Maybe you get all your goods from Ralphs or the corner bodega's freezer section or maybe you pull your fresh veggies out of your neighbors garden! No matter, this is a soup worth the jail time.

If you do have a Trader Joe's near by I want to point out a few quick tricks that will make quick work of this dish. See the cheat sheet photo below....

Leeks are good but any onion will work.... but leeks are good.

Zucchini Spinach Basil Soup w/ Corn

5 large zucchini, washed, sliced and salted
2 quarts fresh chopped or 2 bags frozen spinach
2 large bunch basil or 1/2 package of Dorot's frozen
2 large leeks, washed, halved and sliced
2 quarts vegetable broth or water
2 ears of fresh corn, sliced off the cob
salt & pepper
very fruity extra virgin olive oil

  • Toss sliced leeks into a large pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Sautée until soft.
  • Pat excess liquid from sliced/salted zucchini and add to pot.
  • Stir over med heat until zucchini is soft and changes texture, about 10 minutes.
  • Add spinach, basil and broth. If broth doesn't cover vegetables by 1/2" add more water. I'd add a couple generous shakes of salt here. Always coarse sea salt never that iodized table salt (just break up with that tiresome "the sun 'll come out tomorrow" girl already....).
  • Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Cool for 10 minutes and portion soup into a blender. Blend each batch on high for 2 minutes at least. Soup should be smooth and velvety. Don't worry if it seems frothy the soup will settle and lose the air.
  • Complete puree and return batch to the pot to simmer a bit longer.
  • Add more water, salt and pepper to attain your desired consistency and taste.
  • Corn can be flash sauteed over a high heat or steamed or even served raw if it's high summer and the corn is sweet.
This soup serves well poured hot with a mound of corn in the center, a garnish of fresh basil and a generous drizzle of your best olive oil. You could even add a dash of paprika or fresh ground pepper over the top.

Eat up!

1 comment:

followthatdog said...

Oh my god. I made this last night and it is heavenly. The texture is so creamy is is hard to believe it isn't terrible for you. Yum.
I added lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice at the end, and it added a nice brightness. Dave topped his with toasted pine nuts, and that was really good too.
I am now thoroughly addicted to your food.