There are two times of the year that food marks a note of dread when received. Fruitcake Season and of course the perpetual Zucchini Season. Grimacing and hopelessly upset that we answered our own front door, we are asked to receive these two food groups into our homes without giving up a hint of horror. -- Oh, if only our well-meaning neighbors could see our trash cans!
Although I have no remedy for fruitcake woes, (except perhaps to mush it up, place it at the bottom of a planter, and hope it doesn't kill your ferns,) I have an excellent solution for the green bullet of everlasting perpetuity.
I see it, that look in your eyes as you take in those little floating droplets of butter, listening with your tongue to the siren call of the San Marzano tomatoes, and breathing in the subtle hint of sweet parsley. But there's more. Hidden underneath this creamy blanket of eden-like goodness is the smoky flavor of ham, potatoes and onion. A little fresh grated ginger compliments. And the quintessential tool of flavor-fabulousness: lemon juice finishes it off.
Oh, I didn't quite stop there. There is an ever so small hint of curry powder that is undetectable except for the way it marries the whole thing together. And you need to get your nutmeg whole. Grated fresh nutmeg makes you feel absolutely god-like.
The secret to this dish is the layering of flavors. I intentionally built up the umami with the caramelization of the ham, potatoes and onions enjoying their sautee in butter, and the addition of a nice chicken stock that reduces and helps complete the broth is essential.
Then of course, unless you really do like fruitcake, (not sure we can be friends...) the addition of heavy cream sends it to the stratosphere. And, suddenly this squash soup shows us her Zowza revealing the je ne sais quoi moment -- the hold me back before I cry, kind of tastiness -- a moment you think your mouth has actually melded itself to your spoon.
...All in the hopes that at least for one season you will not dread the doorbell.
RECIPE: Creamy Zucchini Soup with Ham and Potatoes
Serves 4 - 6 / Click here for printable version.
4 ½ C zucchini washed and cut into 1/2” chunks
1/3 C onions, diced small
1 small new potato and 1 small Yukon potato peeled and cut into 1/4” chunks
¾ C honey ham cut into ¼” chunks
2 C good chicken stock
1 C heavy cream
¼ t coriander powder
1/8 t curry powder
¼ t fresh grated nutmeg
4 T salted butter, divided
4-6 T olive oil
1 t fresh grated ginger
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
Good Fiori blend flavored salt (no substitutions)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
A little Italian flat leaf parsley and tomatoes to garnish
1 t Fiori blend sea salt
Prep all ingredients, putting the onion, grated ginger, and potatoes in one dish, the ham in another, and the zucchini in a large measuring cup. Have your stock all ready. I suggest using either your own, or a concentrate dissolved in hot water. I don’t care for the canned variety.
Serve with crusty bread and a light, grassy Sauvignon Blanc wine.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.