I have to say that when you taste this soup, it's not obvious what it is exactly. It tastes like a delicious vegetarian tortilla soup. You know there are herbs, you know there is spiciness, and you know there is a generally Mexican flavor. But zucchini? You might not have guessed. This is a great way to use up zucchinis when you're sick of zucchini, or if you are trying to fool your picky children or husband into eating zucchini. Or, you can feed it to zucchini-lovers and see if they recognize their favorite squash. It's up to you.
This soup is rich and refreshing at the same time. It's pretty amazing. It's pretty great. You should try it.
Zucchini and Cilantro Soup with Chile and Mint
adapted from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
2 medium-sized zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped
1 small bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves divided, chopped
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 corn tortillas
salt to taste
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1 lemon
1. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chile, zucchini, cilantro stems, onion, parsley, and mint. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and zucchini is starting to get tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Tear up one of the tortillas into pieces and add it to the pot. Add a healthy pinch of salt and stir. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until zucchini is very tender. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in the cilantro leaves (save a bit for garnish if you like). Let the soup cool slightly, then puree in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender, until smooth. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.
4. In a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high. Cut the remaining tortilla into strips and add to the hot oil. Cook until crisp, then set on paper towels to drain. Serve the soup garnished with a small mound of tortilla strips and reserved cilantro.