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Summer Squash and Leek Puree

Summer Squash and Leek Puree
Summer squash are the thin-skinned, warm-weather cousins to winter's pumpkins and acorn squashes. Dark-green zucchini and yellow summer, or crookneck, squash are the most common types, but farmers' markets often stock a wide variety, including round, scallop-edged green or white pattypans; round, deep yellow sunburst; and green, tennis-ball-sized Ronde de Nice squashes. Look for firm squash no more than 8 inches long; larger ones tend to have large seeds and watery, bitter flesh.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only,
      cleaned and finely chopped
  • 6 yellow crookneck squash, about 1 1/2 lb.
      total, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives, plus more
      for garnish
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the stock and cook, partially covered, until the squash is very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender or a standing blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the basil, the 2 Tbs. chives, the milk and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Gently reheat the soup over medium-low heat.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with chives. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup & Stew, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Simon & Schuster, 2004).