Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's for Lunch? Summer Squash Soup

A rare occurrence happened this afternoon. My husband and I had time for lunch together AND I had time to make it. I turned to the ingredients on hand in the refrigerator and found my inspiration: summer squash. If you have never heard of summer squash, it is a close relative to other squashes you may have heard of. Do not fear the name: it is available all year round in most places. Summer squash is harvested when not ripe and thus it is generally softer and requires less cooking than a winter squash variety. To choose a good squash look for thin one. Heavier/bigger is not better when it comes to squash. Bulbous squashes are holding a lot of water weight and were allowed to grow too long before being harvested. While squash is great in many dishes, I decided on a soup served alongside a simple tuna-lettuce-tomato-wrap. Here's the recipe, you can double it to feed more people:

Summer Squash Soup: (adapted from a recipe in a 2004 Martha Stewart Living Magazine)
1 1/2 Tbs. butter, softened
1 medium white onion diced
1/2 tsp. tumeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
3-4 medium summer squash, cut into thin rounds (no peeling necessary)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 Tbs. fresh lemon OR lime juice
cayenne pepper and pine nuts for garnish

1)Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add onion over medium heat. Cook onion until soft, stirring occasionally, about five minutes.
2) Stir in tumeric and cayenne. 
3) Add squash and stock, bring to a boil. 
4) Lower flame and simmer uncovered for abo
ut 20 minutes, until squash is tender.
5) Let cool slightly and blend with an immersio
n blender. I like soup chunky so I left pieces of hold squash. You can take this all the way to a puree or skip this step altogether depending on your preference.
6) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in lemon or lime juice.
7) Optional step: Chill the soup. I personally, like soup hot however many people find this soup refreshing when cold. 
8) Ladle into bowls and sprinkle cayenne (or paprika) and pine nuts.

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