Although normally a green colour, courgettes also come in a golden yellow colour which makes for a very attractive soup. We have a very successful yellow courgette plant in our garden which has been giving us crops for a couple of months. This recipe for soup is perfect for using up courgettes, be they yellow or green!
Courgettes (also known as zucchini in Italy and America) were once regarded as a delicacy, but are now very popular and extremely common. They are a type of squash and are related to cucumbers and melons. They are young marrows that haven’t matured. The flowers of a courgette plant are served stuffed or fried as a delicacy in restaurants. Harvested in summer and autumn, courgettes are extremely versatile and hence are used in a range of dishes. The yellow courgettes tend to have a sweeter colour than the green variety.
The history of courgettes is slightly hazy. Although squashes originated in the Americas (first brought to Europe during Christopher Columbus’ crusades), the courgettes that we know today were developed in Italy around the middle of the 19th century. They were not widely eaten in Europe before the 20th century when the writing of Elizabeth David, a British cookery writer, helped to popularise them. David wrote articles and books about foreign food (such as the 1950 A Book of Meditteranean Food and the 1954 Italian Food) which helped many food items such as courgettes, paella and hummus become familiar, both in restaurants and the home kitchen. The term ‘zucchini’ (used in North America as well as some other countries) comes from ‘zucchino’, an Italian word meaning ‘small squash’. The word ‘courgette’ (used by Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa), on the other hand, is French. There is some evidence that the Italian term was used in Britain too until the late 19th century, when there was an emerging fashion for naming food in French!
This yellow courgette soup is from a family recipe that has been used and adapted by my mum over the years. It’s really simple, and perfect for a lunch!
Yellow Courgette (Zucchini) Soup
- 1kg yellow courgettes (zucchini), trimmed
- 25ml garlic oil OR 25ml olive oil and 2 garlic cloves
- pinch of black pepper
- 500ml water
- cheese to serve
- Cut the courgettes into squares about 2.5cm/1 inch thick.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and cook the courgettes for about 25-30 minutes until they are soft.
- Add the pepper and water and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Use a hand blender to blend the soup until it reaches the desired consistency.
- If not serving straight away, leave in lidded saucepan or place in the fridge until ready to leave
- Boil through a final time and serve with a sprinkling of grated cheese, and if desired a sprig of basil and/or parsley.
The yellow courgettes give this soup a lovely sunshine colour, but normal, green courgettes make a soup that is just as delicious!