The Farmer’s Market in New Canaan is fortunately still overflowing with fresh zucchini, some monster sized, and they are delicious in this Chilled Zucchini Soup with Shrimp. Farm fresh zucchini are excellent grilled or roasted, but I was looking for something different to do with my zukes last night. Admittedly, I’m clinging to summer with this soup even if it wasn’t the most appropriate starter to be served on a chilly Saturday night.
In addition to about 5 or 6 zucchini, you’ll need a sweet onion, some garlic, chicken or vegetable broth and a bit of cream. You could probably omit the cream if you want, but I thought it gave it just a little extra something. But the fresh flavor and little zip to this soup is owed to the cilantro and the pinch of cayenne. Don’t omit those ingredients.
Notably, you’ll need a food processor for this job after you’ve sautéed the onion and garlic in a little oil and allowed the zukes to simmer and soften.
I manage to use my food processor infrequently enough that I forget how to use it every time. This is unfortunate for all around me , particularly my balding hunk of a husband, who came to my rescue after a large leaking mess had already unleashed itself on my kitchen. Just remember, when I say “work in batches” below, it means “work in batches,” filling the processor up only about 1/3 of the way. It does not mean pour the soup into the food processor to the brim and well above the top of the blade, unless, of course, you like your soup all over your counter, your floor and yourself.
I recommend you make all of this ahead of time, earlier in the day or even the day before if you are serving at lunch, including the grilled shrimp. Build time in for the soup to cool before you put it in the processor (I would give it an hour).
The cilantro cream should sit for a good 3 hours before you serve it so the garlic and cilantro have time to infuse the sour cream.
The shrimp need to be marinated in the oil, lime juice, green onion, jalapeño, cumin seed, cilantro, salt, pepper and cayenne for about 15-20 minutes. Then grill them 2-3 minutes per side until they are pink. After they are cooled, chop them up, squeeze a little extra lime on them and chill them in the refrigerator.
A few final things about this soup. It is just as good, if not better, the next day and will last for a few days in your refrigerator. It’s really pretty healthy. And as my son would say, “Taste good!”
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 or 6 zucchini (depending on size), chopped
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ⅛ tsp cayenne
- ⅓ cup half and half
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp cilantro
- 1 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped and deseeded
- Pinch of cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven.
- Add onions and saute for 8 minutes, until they begin to brown.
- Add garlic and saute for one minute more.
- Add zucchini and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, making sure to submerge all of the zucchini in the broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for about an hour.
- Add cilantro, cream, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor. Transfer to a large storage vessel and chill in refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, mix together cream, cilantro and sour cream and chill in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- Add shrimp to marinade ingredients and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Assemble shrimp on skewers and grill on medium high heat, 2-3 per side.
- Let cool, chop the shrimp, squeeze a little extra lime over the shrimp and chill in the refrigerator.
- Using a half cup label, spoon the soup into serving bowls, top with a dallop of sour cream and grilled shrimp.