Summer produce feels a little like being in Provence for a few months because the middle of the summer is a time to eat a lot of basil, zucchini, and squash. One way is to make a ratatouille. Another is to make Provence's answer to Italian pesto in soup form or pistou.
|Flavors of Provence by Nouvelle Images|
Soup au Pistou
1 leek, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
6 haricot verts beans cut into small pieces
1 ½ tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
Sprig of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves
5 sweet basil leaves
½ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Place 5 cups of water in a large soup pot. Add all the vegetables and herbs and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for an hour, until beans are tender. Add salt and pepper. Simmer and stir for another 15 minutes. During final simmer prepare pistou sauce. Mash the garlic in a mortar and basil leaves and continue mashing with the pestle until well mixed. Add grated cheese and mix well until it turns into a stiff, consistent paste. Place the mixture into a serving bowl and add the olive oil gradually while stirring until evenly mixed or prepare in a blender or food processor. Serve the soup and let individuals garnish their soup with the pistou sauce.
|Castle Downs Lavender, one of the biggest lavender producers in the U.K.|
Seeing this image, I may be inspired to try to figure out how to make the lavender chess pie that was always a summer offering at Scratch Bake in Durham, NC.