Zucchini-Basil Soup

In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower. That's the sort of thing I find interesting and what I learn because I am addicted to reading Wikipedia articles. 
 Zucchini is the queen of summer squashes and we have been eating lots of it. Our CSA* share provided many of this soup's ingredients including the zucchini, onion, garlic and basil. This soup is seasonal, delicious and it does not take a lot of time to make. It comes to you by way of Love & Olive Oil...

Zucchini-Basil Soup (Courtesy of Love and Olive Oil, from Epicurious)
Yields 4-6 servings
2 pounds of zucchini, trimmed and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups of vegetable stock (I use a low-sodium stock)
1/3 cup packed basil leaves (use a 1/2 cup of basil for a more intense flavor)


For the garnish: Julienne skin (only) from half of one zucchini with a peeler; toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and drain in a sieve until wilted, at least 20 minutes. Set aside.
Soup: Coarsely chop remaining zucchini. Heat oil and cook onion and garlic in a heavy saucepan (or Dutch oven) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of vegetable stock (you can also use 3 cups of water, but I find that the stock makes the soup more flavorful) and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 15 minutes. Purรฉe soup with 1/3 cup basil leaves. 
Back to the garnish: Bring remaining cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and blanch julienned zucchini for 1 minute. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl (use liquid to thin soup if necessary).
Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve with julienned zucchini mounded on top.  If you want to skip the zucchini skin garnish altogether, try serving the soup with a crostini topped with goat cheese. Delish! 
*CSA is an acronym for community-supported agriculture. We joined the Prospect Heights CSA because we wanted to purchase locally-grown produce and had a hard time finding quality vegetables at our local supermarket.  The farm that provides us with our weekly bounty is located Upstate and they deliver "the goods" to a nearby school, which is where we pick it up every Thursday.  This is the second summer my husband and I have been involved with the CSA and it's been a great experience. (Shout out to Kathryn L. of Cooking Inside the Box who is also in our CSA!) 
I started making dishes using ingredients I had never used before, or in some cases, was not familiar with at all. Kohlrabi, zebra tomatoes, turnips, wax beans, bok choy, summer squashes, beets, japanese eggplant, swiss chard, cabbages, pickles, all sorts of lettuces, spinach, green beans...I think you get the picture.  Cooking with locally grown, seasonal produce means the dishes that come out of my kitchen pop with flavor! Michael Pollan would be proud.