Creamy Squash and Tomato Soup

Vermont Creamery provided ingredients for this recipe.

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Butternut, acorn, kabocha, pumpkin––squash season is upon us! It's easy enough to roast a couple of winter squash while you catch up on e-mail or watch tv. Just crank the oven to 450, slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, lightly oil it, and roast it on a cookie sheet until a fork can slide right in, or your finger can make a soft dent, about 30-60 minutes. Now you've got a side dish, the makings of pie filling, or the base for Creamy Squash and Tomato Soup.

Once you've roasted the squash, you can make this soup using just one pot. Dice an onion and saute it in a tablespoon or two of butter until it becomes translucent. If you've got some wine––red or white, it doesn't matter––add a glassful and let it simmer for a few minutes (it's optional). Now add a big can or box of tomoatoes; I like the Pomi ones that come in a tetrapak. Use the can or box to measure out the same amount of roasted squash (just the flesh, no peel), and then twice that amount of water. 

If you have one of those stick blenders, blend the soup right in the pot. You want it thick and creamy, but not baby food smooth, so leave a little texture. If you don't have one of those, you'll have to get the blender or food processor dirty. Now add a big pinch of salt, and simmer the soup for a few minutes, at least, until the flavors blend. Stir in crème fraîche to make the soup creamy, thick and tangy––the amount should be to your taste, but I reccomend using a lot. Add a generous amount of cracked pepper. Taste a spoonful: does it need more salt? more crème fraîche? more pepper?

Serve the hot soup with fresh herbs, if you can. This reheats well, and crème fraîche is much more stable than cream, so you don't have to worry about it curdling. If you're just cooking for one or two you can enjoy this soup for days.

 

You might also like:

Pasta with Peas and Salmon

French Lentils with Crème Fraîche and Chives

 

Zucchini Fritters with Hot Sauce Mayo

If your yard, CSA or neighbor is burdening you with too many summer squashes, you might want to try this recipe. I was inspired by my friend's boredom with zucchini. Changing their texture makes the bountiful garden vegetable exciting again.

Zucchini Fritters

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 Tablespoon canola or safflower oil

Hot Sauce Mayo

  • 1 egg yolk
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup oil (at least half canola or safflower)
  • hot sauce to taste
  • salt to taste

Accompaniments (optional)

  • sliced tomatoes
  • torn fresh basil or dill

To make the fritters, mix the grated zucchini and salt and let sit for 15 minutes (to overnight). Squeeze the water out of the salted zucchini. Discard the water or save it for soup. In a small bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolk, cheese, zucchini and flour mixture. Whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks, then fold it into the zucchini batter.

Heat a skillet and oil as you would for pancakes, over medium high heat. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the skillet to make 2-3 inch fritters. Cook on each side until golden brown.

To make the mayo, put the egg yolk and lemon in a medium bowl. Drizzle the oil down the side of the bowl as slowly as possible, whisking furiously. The egg and oil mixture should become thick and smooth. Add a generous amount of hot sauce. Taste, and add salt or more hot sauce as needed.

Serve with tomatoes and torn herbs, if you have them.

 

Note: You can save time by mixing the egg into the zucchini without separating it. The fritters will be a little less fluffy, but still delicious.