Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pattypan, Basil, & Chevre Soup

Pattypan take their name from the pâtisson, a Provençal cake that’s baked in a fluted mold and mirrors the scalloped shape of the vegetable. And the squash's flavor is actually lightly sweet – a characteristic you can enhance with roasting or a quick sauté. Plus the moisture content is low compared to, say, zucchini, so they can take quite a bit of abuse without turning pulpy or watery.

Yuno’s Farm
has such lovely pattypan in the warmer months: plump, round, and striped green, creamy white, or butter-yellow. And, yes, I’ve been shopping at Yuno’s a lot lately – their market stand is irresistible this time of year. I must admit a certain feeling of allegiance to Nevia there, as she was also a professional dancer before going into the food industry. But I assure you I am consistently blown away by the beauty, variety, and quality of the produce her farm brings to market.

In this soup – which is at its most balanced and summery when served slightly less than piping hot – the pattypan lend their gentle sweetness to the blunt anise of the basil (more of a main player here than a seasoning), and the earthy twang of the goat’s cheese stays subtle as it binds the whole thing together.

Just make sure not to add the basil paste until you’re ready to serve. The heat of the soup will dull the cooling jade color, which is too pretty to let your guests miss.

Serves 6 – 8

3 lbs green pattypan or other green summer squash
extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, medium dice
kosher salt
5 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1 ½ cups good chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
freshly ground black pepper
6 oz fresh chevre, plus more for serving, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
1 large or 2 smaller bunches basil, plus a few extra sprigs for serving
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

Rinse the pattypan and trim off both ends. Slice in half (straight though the center into 2 half-moons, if you catch my drift). Then slice up each squash half quite thinly.

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and then toss in the onions. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and sweat, stirring often, until they turn translucent. Add the garlic cloves and stir gently for 1 minute longer. Then stir in the sliced pattypan and cook, stirring every so often for 5 minutes or until a few of the squash pieces are lightly golden.

Add the stock, the wine, the bay leaves, some more kosher salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes until the squash is soft. Then remove from the heat and pour through a sieve over a large bowl. Purée the vegetables and chevre in a food processor and pour back into the pot. Add cooking liquid until the desired consistency is reached and season with the lemon juice and more salt and pepper. The soup should be held at this point until you’re almost ready to serve.

Just before serving, pulse the basil in a food processor until finely chopped. Stream in the 1 cup of olive oil until a paste is formed. Heat the pattypan soup until the temperature is midway between lukewarm and piping hot and then stir in the basil paste. Check the seasoning again with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve in bowls with more crumbled chevre, a small basil sprig, and a good drizzle of the olive oil.


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This looks so beautiful Amanda!
Have a great weekend!

Joanna said...

MMmmm, delicious, Amanda ... and you could make it with courgettes, as well as your beautiful pattypans. Love the basil oil to drizzle.


Ivonne said...

I had no idea how pattypan got its name ... very interesting! Gorgeous soup!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hi Jenn- Thanks so much, I'm so glad you like it! Hope you're having a great weekend too.

Hi Joanna- I agree with you, I think that any green summer squash would work here when pattypan aren't available. I'd certainly try it with the courgettes too. Thanks so much Joanna!

Hello Ivonne- Thanks so much! I love the little bits of trivia too, though I wish I was better at remembering them all, and I'm so glad you like the soup!

Lucy said...

That pairing, of summer squash and basil, must be incredibly lovely on a hot evening.

It had never occurred to me that pattypan squash were named after the pâtisson. Love what I learn from you!

Barbara said...

I've seen this shape in a yellow squash here. It sounds like a wonderful summer soup Amanda. And thanks for the C@Z comment. It was much appreciated.

Ilva said...

I particularly like the use of white wine in the soup, I have to try that with some nice sweet zucchini, thanks!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hi Lucy, and thanks! The squash/basil thing is very cooling actually, and boy has it been hot here.

Hi Barbara, I love the yellow and white pattypan too. They all have the same dense, sweet flesh and low moisture content. I only chose the green to keep the soup that color, but you could definitely use anything you can get your hands on! And I'm glad I was able to say something on C&Z - I really appreciated your views too!

Hi Ilva, I like the white wine in there too - it's a bit like the tian I did - and I hope you'll let me know how it works with the zucchini! Thanks so much.

winedeb said...

I saw the Pattypan at our Farmers Market over the weekend but was not sure what I would do with it. Kind of moved on as there was so many other goodies to stock up on!

jan said...

looks delicious, Amanda! Very soothing color and sounds refreshing.

Sylvia said...

Very interesting post, I like to know the origin of names and how some dishes are created.I actually love the color of the soup.Here I found some similar small squashes like those, and I suppose that they can be good to made that delicious soup.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hi winedeb, I know just what you mean! This time of year there is so much choice, and everything looks so beautiful!

Hi Jan, and thanks! It is a refreshing soup. Nice and simple flavors.

Hi Sylvia, and thanks so much. You could absolutely use any summer squash for the soup, so let me know how it turns out!

Joanne Rendell said...

looks great. by the way, A, you really should post a photo of your kitchen - the tiny place you conjure up all these wonderful dishes. i think everyone would be amazed!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Thanks Jo! I can't imagine what everyone who's not from NYC would think - pure horror comes to mind though. hehe.

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