Raw Courgette and Fennel "Gazpacho"
Serving up a cold soup can seem quite an unappetising proposal - I certainly thought so. Lucky then for those around me, I am up for trying out the unexplored, and from time to time challenge my views and preconceptions. The few lovely and hot days last week saw me turn my attention to hot weather meal options. A chilled soup is a classic on many Mediterranean menus, and allows for a savoury and satisfying dish that is light and weather-appropriate. I used the roasted, spiced chickpeas to add some textural variety, as well as a spicy note and more bulk to make the soup more filling.
An added attraction of this particular recipe is that it uses courgette, of which we will have ample harvests all summer long. Any recipe using up some of that glut will be welcome, as I expect that we will be grilling, steaming, marinating, pickling, oven-cooking and pan-frying courgette all summer long.
This recipe, inspired by the fridge contents on the day, as well as nodding in the direction of a Vichysoisse and a white gazpacho, lends itself to variation of ingredients and method. Additional or alternative ingredients could include, for example, celery, cucumber, mint, almonds and lemon zest. While I have kept the soup raw, you could also cook it and chill it, which would change the flavours wholesale, really making an altogether different soup.
Ingredients (serves 4 adults as a light meal or 2 greedy adults and a toddler):
- 2 x medium courgettes
- 5 x spring onion
- 5 tbsp (approx. 50 g) pine nuts
- 2 x lemons (juice only)
- 1 x garlic clove
- 1 x small (or 1/2 big) fennel bulb
- 3 cups water
- 3 tbsp bouillon
Blend all ingredients until smooth (or a slightly coarse texture, if desired), and chill.