So we have some dirt, soil you might call it, in the back behind our apartment.
Many people who are lucky enough to have soil behind their homes like to grow things in said soil. Some people even try to grow edible things. I myself would love to grow edible things, but my soil has the unlucky fortune of residing beneath a big horrible mulberry tree that shades it and prevents much of anything green from ever seeing the bright rays of the sun. Hostas and Ivy do okay, but nothing edible wants to have anything to do with my crumby dirt. I have a few measly herbs in pots, but they do more in the way of surviving rather than thriving. A few years ago I put in some strawberry plants. I think that in the two summers that they were alive they produced exactly 3 berries between them. They’ve since given up and made way for weedy clumps of clover and moss.
It seems that the rest of you don’t have such problems. In the past few weeks I feel like everyone in the world (but me) has been whining about having too much zucchini. It would appear that your soil, and the edibles sustained within, are getting all the sunshine a patch of dirt could ask for.
“Oh look at all this zucchini!”, you say. “Whatever shall I do with all of it? Woe is me!” Oh you poor things! What a burden. I weep for you.
I should be so lucky. My soil wouldn’t spew forth a bounty of zucchini if its existence depended on it. If I want zucchini, I have to buy it at the market like a common chump. Can you even imagine?
My zucchini deficit doesn’t mean though, that I’m immune to the wiles of all the drool-inducing photos and recipes that have been popping up all over the internet lately. Even though I’m not actively trying to rid myself of any zucchini surplus, I’m still forced to watch as you struggle and strive to use up all of yours. I don’t have the ill fortune of all this bounty, but thanks to all of your efforts, I now crave zucchini just the same. Thanks a lot guys.
I thought a nice light soup would be a great way to satiate my appetite for those big green beauties. When I started looking for inspiration though, most of the recipes I found paired the zucchini with basil. I do have a small basil plant in the back, but as if the paltry sunlight wasn’t enough, a little green caterpillar decided to add insult to injury and make swiss cheese of my poor little plant. I was a little worried that basil would be too strong a flavor to pair with mild zucchini anyway, so I tried to think of something else. It didn’t take me long to remember the mint I was given as a birthday gift, which somehow seems to be leading a happyish and healthyish existence.
So, zucchini and mint soup it was, and boy did it deliver. The mint and zucchini pair perfectly together, and the resulting soup is subtle, delicate, and delicious. It’s an ideal light supper for summer nights and hot weather. It’s just hearty enough to be filling, but isn’t at all heavy and definitely won’t weigh you down.
This soup is unbelievably simple and takes no time to make, but somehow manages to taste rich and complex. I’d definitely recommend using the highest quality chicken stock you can find, and if you have some homemade stock in the freezer, now would be the time to use it. Since the other ingredients are so delicate and mild, the stock really adds something. A good vegetable stock would be great here too if you want to make this vegetarian, and leaving out the yogurt would make it vegan.
Whether you have a stockpile to use up, or you have to pay for it like me, this is the perfect way to satisfy your passion for zucchini. This soup is packed with bright, fresh, clean zucchini flavor that’s amplified and deepened with the addition of fresh mint. It literally could not be more summery. It’s smooth and creamy, and retains just a bit of texture when pureed with an immersion blender. Adding yogurt brings a nice hint of tanginess, but if you wanted to keep it dairy free you could substitute a squeeze of fresh lemon juice instead. Served with a nice crusty loaf of white bread, this soup is a summery little bowl of heaven.
Zucchini & Mint Soup
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 large zucchini (about 6 cups), diced
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
greek yogurt or fresh lemon, extra-virgin olive oil, and mint leaves
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and stir occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and zucchini and stir occasionally for another 5 minutes. Add stock, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add mint, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until zucchini is just tender, about another 5 minutes. Process with a hand-held blender until smooth. Alternately, pulse in a blender until smooth with no large chunks, but not completely pureed. Check seasoning and adjust to taste if necessary.
To serve, top with a dollop of greek yogurt (or a squeeze of lemon juice), a drizzle of olive oil, and a few fresh mint leaves.