Chilled Zucchini Soup and Zucchini Blossom Beignet

Chilled Zucchini Soup and Zucchini Blossom Beignet
Recipe courtesy of Mark Sullivan, Chef/Partner of Spruce

Serves: 8

Zucchini Soup Ingredients:
6 cups green zucchini, shaved thinly on a mandolin into disks
1 cup mixed baby heirloom zucchini, thinly shaved on the mandolin
3 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced into half moons
2 cups yogurt
2 cups zucchini juice, extracted juice from a juicer
Zest and juice of one lemon, plus additional lemon to garnish
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional extra virgin to garnish
24 sprigs fresh mint
2 cups crushed ice, plus additional ice as needed to desired consistency
Salt to taste

1. Place ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot, add the 3 cups sliced yellow onion, turn the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook stirring frequently until the onions are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
2. Add the 6 cups thinly sliced zucchini disks, 2 cups zucchini juice and bring to a boil. After the soup has reached a boil immediately remove from the heat, add 2 cups crushed ice, 12 sprigs fresh mint, 2 cups full fat yoghurt, and puree in a high speed blender until the soup is silky smooth, about 3-5 minutes. You may need to add additional crushed ice to desired viscosity.
3. Pass the soup through a fine meshed strainer and let chill in a bowl over an ice bath. Add the zest and juice of one lemon and season the soup with salt to taste, reserve chilled.

Zucchini Blossom Beignet Ingredients:
3 cups cake flour
¾ cups cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chilled soda water
24 medium-sized zucchini blossoms, lightly brushed clean
6 cups grape seed oil (or other fry oil like peanut, rice bran, or sunflower seed)

1. Sift together the dry ingredients (3 cups cake flour, ¾ cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt) stir in the chilled soda water. Mix until the water is just incorporated, and let stand for 30 minutes before use.
2. Place the grape seed oil in a heavy bottomed pot, bring and hold at 350-degree temperature. Have a handheld strainer and a sheet pan lined with paper towels handy.
3. Dip 16 of the blossoms in the fritter batter (reserve 8 for garnishing the soup) and place into the hot oil, cook until they are crispy and golden brown. Place onto a paper towel lined sheet pan and sprinkle with salt. You may need to fry the blossoms off in two batches, so that you are only frying off 8 at a time.

Variation: stuff the blossoms with fresh ricotta cheese seasoned with mint, olive oil, and lemon zest.

Plating the Soup:
1. Divide the chilled zucchini soup equally into 8 cold soup bowls.
2. Place the 1 cup shaved baby heirloom zucchini in a metal bowl and lightly macerate with a few drops of lemon juice, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt. Slice the 8 remaining zucchini flowers into ½ inch strips and delicately fold them into the shaved zucchini. Fleck the shaved zucchini and blossoms over the soup so that they float on top.
3. Hand-tear the remaining mint sprigs and divide them over the soup. Drizzle each soup with a scant amount of extra virgin olive oil and a fresh crack of black pepper.
4. Place 2 fried zucchini blossoms over the soup and serve immediately. The goal is to have the soup plated, and then fry the blossoms so that they are hot and crispy.