Chilled Courgette Soup & Basil Soup with Fresh Ricotta & Lemon Zest

A beautiful chilled summer soup that makes for a perfect lunch when served with some toasted ciabatta rubbed with garlic and drizzled with Alex Munoz’ delicious olive oil. Here, we make a stock out of the centre of the courgette and the basil stems, then cook the green part of the courgette and the basil leaf in this and blend them to create something verdant and full of flavour. Courgettes are for me, a quintessential taste of summer. They are only now being fully embraced as they should be as people have finally woken up to their versatility. Their flavour is subtle but elegant, and if people say they are bland, maybe they should look in the mirror rather than accusing the vegetable! This recipe is a great example of how fewer flavours and quick cooking time creates purity of flavour. Nothing more than a bit of consideration and know-how. This will be a restaurant quality soup that I promise you will find easy to make, so give it a try!

1/2               Banana shallot, finely sliced (30g)

2                  Garlic cloves, finely sliced

250g             Courgette, inner white part (seeds and flesh), roughly chopped

2 tbsp           Olive oil

½ tsp            Salt

1 tsp             Sugar

1l                  Water, boiling

                     Basil stems from 1 bun basil, bruised

250g             Courgette, green part, thinly sliced

                     Courgette broth (above)

1 handful       Baby spinach

                     Basil leaves from the bunch

4 tbsp           Ricotta, Latteria

1                  Lemon

-       Place a large bowl in the freezer (but choose a bowl that you can sit in a bigger one or roasting dish). Place 4 individual bowls (to eat from) in the fridge.

-       Sweat the shallots, garlic & courgette trim with the olive oil, salt and sugar in a pan under a lid until softened but with no colour, 5-10 mins, then add the water then return to a boil.

-       Bruise the basil stems and add, then remove from heat, top with lid again and infuse for 10 mins; strain through a sieve.

-       Return the broth to a boil then add the courgette and cook until soft, 2-3mins, then add the spinach and cook for another 30 secs.

-       Place in a blender, add the basil and blend until smooth.

-       Take the frozen bowl and sit on top of another bowl full of ice. Pour the soup into this to chill it, then place in the fridge.

-       Divide into the chilled bowls and scatter over the ricotta and grate over the lemon zest

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