Sunday, September 6, 2009

Let Them Eat Soup

You can make anything into soup...seriously. Not only is it possible with most things, but it is surprisingly good.

today I took a so-so saute and turned it (in frustration I might add) into something really good.

I made a quick saute of zucchini and yellow squash with onions and garlic. I decided to add some salsa verde at the last minute because we were eating burritos also. It worked, but not all that well. There was nothing wrong with it, just nothing to incredibly good.

Soup was in store.

After lunch I stuck the saute into a sauce pan and added a cup of chicken stock and let it simmer away until everything was nice and soft. Like this:

See how they are translucent? That is when you know you have got them where you want them.

By the way, if you hate zucchini, like I did for the longest time, it is probably because they were served to you at this stage. These things have little life left in them. The goodness is all in the liquid part. Cook them quick and you'll be craving them all summer.

After a quick meeting with the immersion blender I had this:

You can use a regular blender as well. Be careful if you go the immersion route. These things go zero to 500 in about a second and will fling boiling zucchini meat at your neck, face, arms and torso in a flash if you are not careful. Pulse, pulse some more, and when everything is more or less chopped up puree away.

The next part is the more important.

You may have asked yourself on occasion, 'why do the sauces and soups at the good restaurants we go to come out so smooth when mine come out all chunky and broke down looking?'

Answer: They pass everything through strainers. Sometimes multiple times.

What should you do? Buy a strainer. We use ours on a daily basis. Find a restaurant supply store and buy one with very small mesh. It wont cost you more than ten bucks and will last you a very long time. Here is mine, ready for the soup:

Note: I usually don't do this directly into bowls, but into another pot and then proportion out. I did it this way today because it was only one bowl of soup.

Another note: always heat your bowls. This will keep your soup hot. Microwave is your best friend for this one. 45 seconds and you are golden. Hot bowls, hot plates, hot food, happy people.

Here is why I strained this soup:

This is all peel and seeds that did not get pureed well enough. It might not look like much, but the texture that you get after the process is amazingly different than before. I should note that the soup does not strain itself. You have to get a ladle or other concave object to move and mash the inside of the strainer.

I decided to plate it like this:

Romano for the saltiness and some cherry tomatoes for the acid to cut through the richness of the soup.

It was great. It was very spicy because of the salsa verde, but all in all I enjoyed it a ton.

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