Courgette (Zucchini) Summer Soup

This soup originally came from the first River Café Cookbook, the blue one which I loved when it came out.  I wasn’t keen on their second book, the yellow, it seemed full of recipes for their wood-fired oven and generally less substantial.  I’ve been making this soup for as long as I’ve had my oldest daughter, 16 years.   I went back to the original recipe just now to check if there were any changes I made and there is, I don’t use garlic, cream or parmesan.  Obviously add it if you wish.  I wouldn’t add cream as it dilutes the intense taste of this soup, maybe drizzling some at the end so there’s contrast would be nice. I think shavings of parmesan as a garnish adding a salty savoury note to it would be good.  Having said this I don’t think this soup needs it.

What I love about this soup is its how vibrant it is with the perfume from the fresh herbs and the silky creamy texture the body of the courgette gives.  It’s delicious warm as it is served chilled from the fridge on a really hot summer’s day.

Courgette (Zucchini) Summer Soup

You can add chicken stock or water as I have here, if you add chicken stock don’t use a cube, use a homemade quality one because it will important too much of its own flavour into this very simple soup and spoil it.  When cooking the courgettes let a few cubes gain some colour to add flavour.

  • olive oil (extra virgin or not)
  • 1 kilo • 2 1/4 lbs courgettes (zucchini) chopped
  • fresh basil, handful about 20grms / 2 cups
  • fresh parsley,handful about 20grms / 2 cups (remove hard stalks)
  • 500ml •  1  pint of water (you may need to add about 5 floz • 140ml extra)
  • Salt to taste about a teaspoon
  • freshly ground black pepper – optional

Add generously enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, make sure the pan is a wide one otherwise you end up boiling the courgettes and not able to braise and add a little colour to them.  Cook without a lid for about 15 mins on medium heat until they have shrunk and a few have caught some colour.  Stir from time to time.

Add the salt, pepper if using and water, bring back to the boil and turn it off.  Don’t put the lid on otherwise the courgettes will turn a yellowy colour.

Add the basil and parsley.  I remove the very large stalks in the parsley otherwise they end up as hard bits in the soup. As soon as you add the herbs liquidize it.  Don’t cook the herbs as this ensure their perfume in the soup and their vibrant green colour.

I like the consistency of mine thick and creamy.  Taste for seasoning and serve or put in the fridge and serve chilled.

If I’m having this soup warm I like to go back to my childhood habit of adding bits of bread to soak into it, adds texture as well as tasting nice.