Chilled out: how to make Splendido’s elegant cold zucchini soup at home
“On a hot day, the best thing to follow an icy cocktail is a bowl of cold soup. The secret to this version’s vibrant late-summer flavours is using vegetables that are in season at the same time—eggplant and zucchini. Veggies that ripen together always pair well. At the restaurant, we make the preserved lemon and smoked red peppers from scratch, but home chefs can easily buy them ready-made.”
—sous-chef Patrick Kriss
Sweet and sour eggplant with smoked peppers
2 tbsp liquid honey
1 small eggplant
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of hot paprika
3 cups vegetable stock
2 medium green zucchinis
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium white onion
1 medium head garlic, roasted and peeled
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch spinach, stems removed
Thinly sliced preserved lemon (available at Lively Life Fine Food in St. Lawrence Market, or in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store)
½ cup diced smoked or roasted red pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1. Peel and cut the eggplant into ¼-inch dice. Bubble honey in a small flame-proof casserole over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes or until slightly thickened and fragrant. Add eggplant, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until eggplant has absorbed honey and is starting to soften. Add vinegar and stir until it has evaporated. Cover and cook at 325° F until eggplant is tender (20–30 minutes). Gently stir in oil and paprika. Let cool, then season to taste.
2. For soup, boil stock in a small pot. Trim zucchini, core and cut into ¼-inch dice. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add thinly sliced onion and cook until onion is soft but not brown (7–10 minutes). Add zucchini, garlic, pepper flakes and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
3. Add boiling stock, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until zucchini is tender but still bright green.
4. Strain soup through a fine sieve, reserving stock. Put half the zucchini mixture, 1 cup stock and half of spinach in a blender. Blend until smooth. Repeat. Discard remaining stock.
5. Push the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids in sieve. Refrigerate soup until chilled (about 2 hours).
6. To serve, spoon small mounds of the eggplant into 6 soup bowls. Carefully ladle soup around the mounds. Garnish with preserved lemon, strips of roasted red pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Recipe tested by Julia Aitken.
88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788