Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Squash Soup

Last Saturday's CSA share had lots of summer squash, which has never been a favorite of mine -- until I came up with this recipe last night! Originally I was thinking it would be a white-bean squash soup, then a squash/ parsley number, but as I progressed with my recipe I realized that straight -up and simple was the way to go.

Simple Summer Squash Soup

8-10 medium sized summer squash
One medium yellow onion (between tennis-ball and wiffle ball size)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup white wine

Trim the ends off the squashes, peel with a vegetable peeler and slice into roughly ½ thick rounds. In a colander arrange a layer of squash rounds, sprinkle liberally with kosher salt, and keep adding and salting layers until all the squash is in the colander. [Like with eggplant, salting leaches out the excess water in the squash for better flavor.] Let the squash drain for about 15 minutes, press it with your hands to release any extra water, flip the layers over and repeat the process.

As the squash drains, slice the onion in half and then into slim half moon slices. Peel the garlic cloves and slice them into thin slices lengthwise. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large cast-iron skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and a pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cover the pan for about 6 minutes to let the onions sweat and sweeten, stirring occasionally. (Now is a good time to flip the squash in the colander!) Continue to stir the onions and garlic until they begin to caramelize and soften.

When the squash slices have drained, squeeze out the excess water, place the squash on a cutting board and roughly chop the slices so you have ¾ inch –ish pieces. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the pan, keep stirring the onions and garlic until the new oil is warm, and then add the chopped squash. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

[FYI -- At this point, if you are tired, you can abandon the idea of soup and use the squash in the pan over pasta –taste it! It’s really good, right? Just eat it as a side OR you can continue on to the last step, which is:

-- Turn off the heat
-- Add the contents of the skillet to a food processor
-- Process until completely blended. It will be thick, and here is where you can add the white wine until you get the desired texture. You could also use vegetable broth, or soy milk for a creamier soup, but I think the wine brings out the simple richness of the summer squash best. Also, it is an excuse to buy a bottle of white for “cooking purposes” which you can drink while cooking, yes?


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