A simple, fresh, squash-flavored soup for two and cheesy zucchini crispies with a tray full of cheesy zucchini crispies, with fried basil to garnish.
For the Soup:
- 3 yellow zucchini squash, chopped into rounds
- 1 leek, chopped into rounds
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/8 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the Cheesy Zucchini Crispies:
- 1 1/2 large yellow zucchini squash, chopped (or 2 cups shredded zucchini)
- 3 3/4 cups shredded Pecorino cheese
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Italian (or za’atar) seasoning
Fried Basil Leaves (Optional):
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 6 to 10 leaves of fresh basil
- Fill a large stockpot with three quarts of water (and a pinch of salt, if desired), and bring to a boil over medium to high heat. Add chopped squash and leeks, cover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, start the cheesy zucchini crispies: Preheat the oven to 375F/190C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the chopped zucchini in a food processor until it’s shredded.
- Then, place the shredded zucchini in a tea towel and wring it out over the sink as much as possible to remove the excess water. In a large bowl, combine the wrung-out squash with cheese, olive oil and seasoning.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten each one, leaving room between each mound.
- Bake crispies for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and shimmering. (I did this in two batches, i.e., four sheets total.) When crispies are done, remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a serving dish.
- Once vegetables are softened, drain the water from the pot. Then, in the same pot, mash vegetables with a large fork or a potato masher until smashed throughout. Add butter, milk, salt and pepper, and mash with a large fork until combined.
- Then, use an immersion blender to smooth out the mixture (alternative: transfer mixture in batches to a Vitamix or food processor). You want to almost purée the mixture but not quite, so that there are still some chunks throughout. Taste and adjust for salt as you like.
- Serve soup hot, topped with cheesy zucchini crispies and, if desired, the fried basil leaves (see below).
- Optional extra step: warm a tablespoon of coconut oil in a small saucepan until hot. Lay basil leaves inside for a minute or two, until crisp. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate to dry. (This is very easy and very fast but fairly impressive and fun.)