Recipe A Day #22: Easy Zucchini Coin Soup

This recipe was inspired by Jules Clancy's amazing cookbook Five Ingredients Ten Minutes, and if I haven't convinced you to add this incredibly useful cookbook to your kitchen, I simply haven't been doing my job properly.

Today's soup recipe is easy, budget-friendly and stunningly delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Easy Zucchini Coin Soup

4 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch thick coins
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced into thin slices
About 1 liter or about 5 cups of stock, or 5 cups water plus 2 bouillon cubes
Small handful of fresh basil leaves
salt/pepper to taste
about ¼ to ⅓ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1) Saute zucchini coins in a large, deep non-stick pan on high heat until browned on both sides (you can do the zucchini in a few separate batches). Remove zucchini from pan and set aside.

2) Add a small amount of extra olive oil and saute the garlic on medium heat until partly browned.

3) Add zucchini back to pan, then add water/stock/bouillon, basil leaves and salt/pepper. Bring to a brief boil, remove from heat. Add grated parmesan cheese and combine well. Serve in bowls garnished with slivers of parmesan cheese.

Serves 5-6.

Recipe Notes:
1) Browning the zucchini: Browning the zukes adds both pleasing aesthetics and a nuanced flavor to the soup. Time-saving tip: Feel free to sear/brown just a portion of the zucchini disks, then add the rest of the zucchini to your pan for a brief saute before removing. This can save perhaps five minutes of cooking time with little sacrifice of taste.

2) Do not skip the parmesan! Somehow this simple ingredient, which seems like an afterthought to this recipe, adds a delicious flavor to this soup. Money-saving tip: pair this recipe with Day #9's "Almost Meatless" Potato Corn Chowder, and buy just one small block of parmesan cheese: use the rinds in the chowder and the cheese itself in today's recipe.

3) What the heck is a courgette? If you look in Jules' cookbook for the recipe that inspired this post (it's right there on page 28), you'll see a recipe for "Courgette and Basil Soup." Laura and I are often staggeringly ignorant, and a few years ago during a visit to New Zealand, we saw the word courgette for the first time, thinking it was kind of new hipster veggie that we'd never heard of (things like ramps and rocket come to mind for zero reason whatsoever). Later, however, we learned courgette is the French word for zucchini--and Kiwis, Aussies and the English just happen to use the French word for this and a few other vegetables. Hmmm. I don't know. Seems a little prissy to me. ;)

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