An artful blogger's cooling zucchini soup
As you’d expect from a gal who works as an artist, photographer and graphic designer, Alaina Sullivan’s food is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the taste buds. On her award-winning blog, palate/palette/plate, the New York City artist/cook grounds her recipes in seasonal ingredients and presentations that are elemental but never boring. Witness her chilled zucchini soup: The simple summer number gets its intriguing flavor from grilled zucchini and its vibrant green hue from peppery watercress and feathery dill. The result is a light and pretty first course that’s particularly fitting for an alfresco dinner party.
Chilled Grilled Zucchini Soup with Watercress, Dill and Lemon Zest
Recipe adapted from Alaina Sullivan
6 medium zucchini--trimmed, peeled and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
3 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
1 bunch watercress, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
½ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts, for garnish
1. Prepare a fire for direct cooking in your grill or heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini slices until grill marks appear and the slices begin to soften, about 4 minutes per side. (If using a skillet, cook the zucchini in batches until soft and well browned, about 4 minutes per side.)
2. Transfer the zucchini to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, warm the remaining tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion to a large bowl.
3. Roughly chop the zucchini and add to the bowl. Add the broth, watercress, dill, lemon zest and lemon juice. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
4. Add additional broth, if necessary, to thin the soup. Season with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice, if desired. Pour the soup into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
5. Divide the soup among six bowls. Garnish with the hazelnuts, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
It's the details that count! Try these tips
Use an immersion blender, like Cuisinart’s SmartStick version, to puree the soup quickly.
See more of Alaina Sullivan’s creations on her blog, palate/palette/plate.