Saturday, September 17, 2011

Man Can Cook #12 - Zucchini Surplus Part Deux

Just a brief entry here to share a recipe that I fondly remembered from my childhood. I grew up mostly in Morgan Hill, California. When we moved there in 1976 Morgan Hill was mostly agricultural. There was vineyards, mushroom growers, orchards and precious little else. The apricot and grape growers would pay kids a nickel a bird for us to shoot starlings in their fields to keep them off the fruit. We didn't actually hit very many of them, but we made a lot of noise with the shotguns and chased off a lot of birds. I can't imagine what the reaction would be today to a trio of kids riding along a road on Schwinn Stingrays carrying 12ga shotguns but in those days, nobody batted an eye.

My mother worked as a bookkeeper for Emilio Guglielmo Winery. They make a spectacular collection of Italian style wines which in general, I happen to prefer to the German / French influence on most of the Napa / Sonoma wines. My family remains friends with the Guglielmo's to this day. The matriarch of the family is a beautiful 1st Generation Italian woman named Madeline and she is a spectacular cook. The old world sensibility of not letting anything go to waste inspired this recipe that my mother used to cook for us when there was a surplus of zucchini from either Madeline's garden or ours. I hadn't had it in over 30 years and on a recent visit I implored my mother to get the recipe from Madeline.

It's super simple and quick to make and it's just as I remembered it, delicious either warm or cold. I encourage you to give it a try and I hope you enjoy it. 

Large Stock Pot
Stick Blender
3lbs zucchini - chopped into 1" cubes (do not peel)
2 large onions - chopped
4tbsp butter
1qt chicken stock
1c 1/2 & 1/2
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Start by sauteing the onions in the butter until lightly browned, then toss in the zucchini cubes and add the stock, add additional water until the the zucchini is just barely covered. You'll cook the zucchini on a medium simmer until it is tender, but not "mushy". 

At this point you'll blend everything together with your stick blender, or transfer it to a stand blender. How much to blend is up to your choice as far as the texture but my preferance is for the soup to be a little on the chunky side rather than going for an totally smooth puree.

Then add your 1/2 & 1/2, the can of cream of mushroom soup and salt/pepper to taste. I like to serve it warm with a drizzle of good olive oil and some warm crusty garlic bread as an appetizer. If served cold it's fantastic with a sprinkle of ground curry powder over the top and a sprig of mint or cilantro.

Emilio Guglielmo Winery
1480 East Main Avenue,
Morgan Hill, CA

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