This recipe began life as an experiment designed to make a simple first course for a special lunch or dinner. A recipe I found in Eating Well magazine served as the base for the zucchini soup I wanted to make, but my first stab at making it was bland. Never one to waste food, I did a quick scan of the refrigerator to find something that might perk up the flavor of what was sitting in the pot. I pulled out some cheese and a lemon and incrementally began to add them to the soup, tasting as I went along. I think I finally got it right. At the very least, I can promise it is better than the undoctored version of the soup with which I started. I like this soup, but I am not crazy about it. I will make it again when zucchini is cheap and plentiful, but I will hold off until then. Here is the version of the recipe I used to make the soup.

Zucchini Soup with Gruyere and Asiago Cheese


3 cups chicken or well-seasoned vegetable broth
1-1/2 pounds zucchini, (about 3 medium), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or dill
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese
1/2 cup coarsely grated Asiago cheese
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Optional: 1/4 cup whole milk
Garnish: Tarragon or dill sprigs

1) Place broth, zucchini and tarragon (or dill) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the zucchini is tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
2) Reheat over medium-high heat, slowly stirring in cheese until it is incorporated. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Add milk if soup is too thick. Soup can be served hot or cold. Yield: 4 servings.

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