This zucchini bisque is thickened with Arborio rice—the same rice used to make risotto because it has a high starch content, which lends the creaminess to the soup.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup diced fennel or celery
4 cups diced zucchini
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 chicken bullion cube, crushed
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup cooked Arborio rice
(1/2 cup rice cooked in 12/3 cup water)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
Grinding black pepper
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced thyme
Garnish with Fried Zucchini Balls (recipe below)
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the carrot, onion, and fennel or celery. Cook a few minutes until the vegetables soften. Stir in the zucchini, garlic and bullion cube. Cook until the zucchini softens.
2. Add the broth and cooked rice, and cook covered for 5–8 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.
3. Stir in the lemon juice. Purée the soup in batches, or use an immersion blender, until it is smooth. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley and thyme.
4. Garnish with 3 Fried Zucchini Balls per serving of soup. Serve hot.
Fried Zucchini Balls
3 cups shredded, raw zucchini
2/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dash ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
11/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
1. Wrap the zucchini in paper towels and set aside.
2. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Place the eggs in separate bowl and beat with a fork. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.
4. Place the zucchini in the bowl with the flour and toss to coat. Shake off excess flour and transfer the zucchini to the beaten eggs and toss to coat well. Transfer the coated zucchini to the breadcrumbs and coat well.
5. With your hands, gather a small amount of the coated zucchini—the size of a whole walnut—and form it into balls. Set aside.
6. Heat the oil in a saucepan to 375°F. Add the zucchini balls a few at time and fry until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
7. Serve as garnish for the Zucchini Bisque, and enjoy the extras as a mini appetizer while still warm.