Recipe: Courgette and goat’s cheese soup with basil

Francesca

Courgettes are a summer staple and so versatile. In the last week they’ve appeared on the breakfast plate (gently fried slices alongside tomatoes, mushrooms, egg and toast), lunch (courgette and sweetcorn fritters) and dinner – in a soup, but not just any soup. This soup is really light and luscious; it’s definitely the exception to the casual rule that soups aren’t for summer. Recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg firm small courgettes, sliced 3- 4mm thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 750ml whole milk (or use half milk, half veg stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100g rindless mild goat's cheese
  • Basil leaves (or mint, if you prefer)

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the courgettes. Once they're sizzling nicely but before they start to brown, reduce the heat, season with salt (helps draw out the moisture) and cook gently, stirring often. As they become tender, break them down a little until they have softened almost to the point of mushiness; this can take up to 30 mins. Add the garlic when the courgettes are almost done, so it cooks but doesn’t burn. You should end up with a fragrant, garlicky, rough courgette puree. Leave it coarse like this, or blitz in a food processor if you prefer a less chunky soup.
  2. While the courgettes are cooking, put the milk in a pan with the bay leaf. Bring to just below boiling, then leave to infuse.
  3. Stir the cheese into the courgette mixture, then strain in the hot milk a little at a time and stirring all the while, until the soup is a consistency you like. Bring the soup scarcely to boiling point, season and ladle into warmed bowls. Top with a drizzle of extra-virgin rapeseed or olive oil, and a few shredded basil leaves.