Zucchini-Cilantro Soup

After the success of our last ’round-the-world Friday lunch date — big fat burgers in one form or another — my Twitter “Let’s Lunch” bunch agreed that we should try something lighter next time.

Cold soup, we decided.

Which seemed like a good idea back in August.

But lately, the weather in Paris has been cold, not hot, and I’ve been more in the mood for a warm soup, not a cold one. So I started thinking about what might work as a hot or cold soup, much like my Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup.

I put on my thinking cap — a woolly one at that — and came up with this, a tweaked-up version of my favorite go-to zucchini soup — sort of a vichyssoise light, crossed with zucchini.

Either way you look at it, it’s an easy, healthy little soup, and it works just dandy, all fired up or chilled. I give this soup a squeeze of lime right before I serve this — it brightens up this soup like you wouldn’t believe. I tried this with a spoonful of crème fraiche dolloped in the middle, too, and it’s really nice. The little Parmesan toasts make this kind of fancy – but if you didn’t make these and just threw some toasted tortilla strips on top, that would be good, too.

So I lift my big old soup spoon to all of y’all today, my cross-continental food blogging pals, wherever you are in the world — New York-based Cheryl, who’s in Singapore right now, and who got this whole crazy thing started in July, along with Nicole in San Diego, and Karen in Atlanta, along with all the others. Bon appetit from Paris, everyone!

To see all of the different cool soup postings, just click on over to Twitter and type in the hashtag, #letslunch.

What’s next?

Zucchini-Cilantro Soup

3 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 shallot, minced
handful cilantro
2 cups vegetable stock
sea salt
olive oil
Parmesan cheese, shredded
baguette, sliced thin

1. Put potatoes in a pot, cover with water, add a bit of salt and turn on medium-high heat. When it comes to a boil, put a lid on and let potatoes simmer on low heat until soft, 10-15 minutes. Let cool, then drain.

2. Put zucchini in a pot, cover with water, add some salt and turn on medium-high heat, too. Let boil, then simmer on low heat until just soft, 10 minutes or so. Let cool, then drain (If you don’t have vegetable stock on hand and just want to use water, that’s OK. Just reserve some of the zucchini water.)

3. Put minced shallot in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and let cook until translucent, about 5-10 minutes.

4. Assemble the soup: In the zucchini pot, add the vegetable stock, softened potatoes, shallots, and cilantro. With a hand blender, puree the soup, then chill.

5. Make Parmesan Toasts: Preheat oven to 400F. Slice a baguette in thin slices, lay on cookie sheet and toast until just crisp, not brown. This’ll take about 10 minutes. Remove toasts from oven, add a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese, and return to the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Serve with big ol’ squeeze of lime.