Cool Zucchini Soup with Lemon-Cumin Shrimp and Cilantro Creme

Cool Zucchini Soup with Lemon-Cumin Shrimp and Cilantro Creme

I’d like to believe the weather we’ve been enjoying is here to stay, but I know our small slice of Paradise much too well. Instead of the often sweltering heat we experience in August, we’ve been treated to grey skies, cool, moist breezes, and yesterday, fat drops of rain that teased us late in the afternoon. It’s only a matter of time when vacations become a fleeting memory, kids are back in school, and freeways are once again jammed with rush hour traffic that it will get hot here and stay that way well into October. The heat saps one’s energy after a long day and making dinner usually isn’t high on the priority list, unless it’s something easy to make, cool, and satisfying.  The added perk is that it’s healthy.

This soup’s for you on those evenings. It’s creamy without being full of fat-laden calories as long as you go easy on the cilantro creme. Make extra, because it’s even better the next day.

Cool Zucchini Soup with Lemon-Cumin Shrimp and Cilantro Cream

Shrimp Ingredients

1 lb. large shrimp, raw with shells and tails on

2 T lemon juice, fresh

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. lemon zest

At least 4 hours before serving, or the night before, drop the shrimp into a pan of gently simmering water.  Allow them to cook until bright pink and opaque.  Drop into an ice bath to cool, remove the shells and  place the shrimp in a sealable container.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss, then allow to marinate until ready for use.

Shrimp Marinating Shrimp

Soup Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 sweet onion, chopped (about 2 c.)

2 lg. cloves garlic, chopped

2 lb. zucchini, sliced (about 7 good sized)

5 c. good chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 c. chopped cilantro + sprigs for garnish

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium and saute the onion until it softens, 8 – 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir occasionally, 1 minute.  Add the zucchini and toss ingredients until well mixed.  Add about 3/4’s of the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium low and allow to simmer until the zucchini is tender, 10 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool until just warm to the touch.  Stir in the chopped cilantro. Using a hand blender, food processor or blender, puree mixture in small batches until it reaches a smooth consistency.  Use the remaining broth to thin if necessary.  Allow to sit at room temperature to continue to cool, or if desired, refrigerate until chilled.

Zucchini For Zucchini Soup

Cilantro Cream Ingredients

1/2 c. sour cream

2 T chopped cilantro

2 small cloves garlic, minced

Cilantro Creme

Stir all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.  Allow to sit 10 – 15 minutes so flavors blend before serving as a garnish with the shrimp.

To serve, divide the soup among bowls or cups.  Set shrimp on each serving with a dollop of cilantro cream and a cilantro sprig.

Cool Zucchini Soup with Lemon-Cumin Shrimp and Cilantro Creme

Recipe Notes:

  • This recipe was adapted from a recipe in the August 2009 issue of Bon Appetit found at Epicurious.
  • This is a delicious recipe we were all surprised by.  I’m not big on chilled soups, but the flavors in this recipe were tempting and it was easy to make ahead.
  • It made enough soup for seven people as a dinner starter and there was enough left to enjoy for dinner the next night serving the three of us.
  • I served the soup at room temperature and then refrigerated the leftovers.  Before I served it the next day, I tasted it just to get an idea of the flavor chilled and it was very pleasant, but I decided to warm it up to serve and try it that way as well.  Honestly, the best version was heated, although all three were excellent.  The over all flavor improved over night as well.
  • Although the shrimp are pretty perched on top, I’m thinking this would be great to have a bit of shrimp in each bite, so coarsely chopping and stirring it in would be a great change.
  • We didn’t have the shrimp the next evening but did end up stirring in the remaining cilantro creme before heating.  Seriously tasty!
  • I’m wondering about some spice with this — dried pepper flakes, or roasted jalapeno mixed into the puree.
  • Maybe grilled chicken instead of shrimp….endless possibilities.

Cool Zucchini Soup with Lemon-Cumin Shrimp and Cilantro Creme