ZUCCHINI SPINACH SOUP

5.11.2015


Sometimes creativity strikes me early in the morning. It’s more surprising when it hits me late at night. I’ve never been a night owl and can barely stay up to watch more than 10 minutes of a movie anymore. Remember in the last post when I said why I think my husband asked me to marry him? The real reason is because I fell asleep on his couch the first night we met. He tells me he thought it was great that I was that comfortable with myself. 

Anyway, given my history of being a borderline narcoleptic, nothing surprised me more than the creative fury that hit me the other night. I sat in front of the computer and pumped out sentence after sentence, the words flowing like the giant glass of wine I had on my desk. I wrapped it up, watched a little tv with G and went to bed feeling great about my usual non-writing self. 

The next morning I opened it up to polish off the edges to have a ready-made post just waiting in the wings. Turns out I was feeling pretty good about myself because of that giant glass of wine. Typos left and right, incoherent sentences, it was a mess. I definitely wasn’t drunk (okay, maybe buzzed), but I sure was writing like it. Needless to say, I scrapped it with nothing to save for it. 


Recipes are like that, too. I think I have this great idea for a dish, pick up a couple things at the market, come home, whip it up and end up having to make it three or four times before it’s web-worthy. The ones that turn out to be great right off the bat are often the ones that 1) I’m not measuring as I’m cooking (oops), 2) forget to take pictures of (damn) or 3) so quick and easy it makes me doubt it’s going to be super delicious (yay!).

This soup is one of those gloriously easy, delicious and healthy recipes. Inspired by a Grant Achatz recipe, I added spinach for more green, added some thyme and subbed water for broth. Ages ago when I watched Julia on PBS making leek and potato soup, she said she didn’t like to use broth because it muddied the flavor of the delicate leeks. Who doesn’t want to be like Julia in the kitchen? So, I’ve stuck with water in veggie soups ever since. 

The best part is that my kid loves this soup. She picks up the bowl and drinks it she loves it so much. She likes her veggies, but this soup is really green. You never know when a recipe is going to be a winner. 

Zucchini Spinach Soup
adapted from Grant Achatz
serves 4

The first time I made this I didn’t add thyme and it was clean, simple and delicious. I like the addition of the thyme, but I wouldn’t add any more than a 1/2 tsp. More than that and it overwhelms the zucchini and spinach. This would also be delicious with mint and a dollop of yogurt or whipped fresh ricotta. 

1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lb zucchini (about 2 large), sliced ~1/4” thick
2 cups (3oz) packed spinach 
2 cups water
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt olive oil and butter. 
Add onion, garlic and generous pinch of salt and cook until soft and translucent - do not brown.
Add zucchini and cook until softened about 5 minutes. 
Add spinach, thyme and water. 
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the zucchini is very soft about 10 minutes.
Puree the soup either in a blender or immersion blender until silky smooth.*
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. 
Serve with crusty bread or grilled cheese. 

*For kids or babes that don’t dig smooth soups, you can either leave it a little chunky after blending or spoon out some of the soft zucchini before blending. Then the kid has some things to nibble on while you shovel soup in their mouths. 

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