I realize that much of the country is experiencing a heat wave right now and the last thing you want to do is spend a great deal of time in your kitchen. But I also realize that summer squash and zucchinis are running rampant and it's tough to think of creative ways to use them before you can give them all away or they start to go bad on your counter-top. So here's a quick, oven's-only-on-for-twenty-minutes soup that you'll appreciate having around for a few days.
Colorful summer squash are always a signifier, at least here in the Bay Area, that we're deep into the heart of summer. July and August bring bountiful crates to the farmer's markets and grocery store bins are overflowing with green and yellow. While I love simply sauteing them in a little olive oil or slicing them thinly with a mandolin and adding them to pastas or stir-fries, there's something satisfying about a simple summer soup.
So here's a recipe that takes very few ingredients (most of which you probably have on hand) and that relies on warm spices instead of the all-too-common Italian spices that so many people rely on when cooking with summer squash — herbs like oregano or thyme. This soup freezes beautifully if you want to make a large batch and store some for a weeknight when you simply can't be bothered.
Simple Summer Squash SoupServes 5-6
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 pounds summer squash, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces 1 medium onion 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon curry powder 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced 3-4 cups vegetable broth (depending on desired thickness) Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring often, until just fragrant. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sliced squash and cook until just softened, about 10 minutes.
Add curry powder and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and, using a hand-blender or traditional blender and allow to cool before seasoning with salt and pepper.
Ladle into soup bowls to serve and garnish with flat parsley or cilantro if you'd like.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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