Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
We are in a tenuous time here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a little rainy. It’s late August. It’s not actually supposed to be permanently rainy for like, another month. Many of our tomatoes aren’t yet ready to harvest. Which is really the most important thing. Supposedly tomorrow it will be 80 and cloudy, and after that it will be back to high 70s and sunny, but what if it isn’t? What if the rain was here to stay? If you are in Portland, that means that it will rain until June. As in June 2014.
I am fine with that if it happens in October like it is supposed to. But since it is August I am NOT ready for it to be fall, as I’ve made no secret about. These are my demands, weather gods. Bring back the sun. You have 48 hours to respond. Or else.
HOWEVER… I have to admit, I secretly enjoyed making soup this weekend.
One of my favorite things to do during the rainy season is to stand in my kitchen over a pot of simmering, steaming soup and listen to the rain and steal tastes of my soup right out of the pot. I’m pretty good at soups, I think. And I’m especially proud of this one.
At the farmers market this weekend, zucchini were 2 for $1. Impossible to resist (unless you have a zucchini plant, which famously produce way more than one family could eat). I made a lot of things with my haul – fridge dill pickles, tomatillo salsa with a veggie quesadilla and this soup. I think the soup’s my favorite, but I’ll let you know in a couple of days when the dill pickles are ready.
Here’s what you need:
2 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 very large zucchini, diced (5 or 6 generous cups of cubes)
1/2 large white onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup flour
4 cups broth or stock – I used veggie, chicken would be fine too
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice, to taste
2-4 Tbsp. cream or milk
Salt to taste
Serve with sour cream and your best finishing oil
In the bottom of a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and cook the zucchini, onion and garlic until the onion and zucchini soften (about 5 minutes). Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat all of the veggie pieces. Cook for 2-3 additional minutes, stirring occasionally.
After cooking the flour and veggies, add in the broth and half of the dill, and bring to a robust simmer. Test the zucchini with a fork to make sure it is very tender. When it is, turn off the heat and blend with an immersion blender or regular blender and return to the pot. Stir in the remaining dill, the lemon juice and the cream. Salt to taste. When you serve, top with a small dollop of sour cream and a little swirl of your good olive oil.