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We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: Summer vegetables as they were meant to be.
Last week we brought you summer fruit for dinner. This week, we bring you summer vegetables. (Admittedly, both tomatoes and squash are actually fruits, but you know what we mean.)
Raw vegetables are delicious in their own right (more crudité, please!), but add a few key ingredients to the mix, and you just might elevate your vegetables to their ideal Platonic form -- or at least make them taste really, really good. Bring out the sweetness of summer squash with a hit of fresh tarragon, then flatter your tomatoes with a generous douse of brown butter and a slice of fresh bread. Your vegetables (okay, fruits) will thank you for helping them to reach their full potential.
1 large yellow squash
2 green onions, light green and white parts only
1/2 medium onion
3 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
2 large or 3 small ripe beefsteak tomatoes
Flaky sea salt
Snipped chives, shredded Parmesan, and croutons (optional)
Baguette or other country bread
You probably have butter, olive oil, garlic, ground black pepper, and either milk or cream in your kitchen. If not, add those to the list, too.
1. Chop the squash, the green onions, and the onion. Sauté them in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add 1 minced garlic clove in the last minute or so.
2. Season the squash with black pepper to taste, then add 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon, the vegetable broth, and the lemon juice, and stir it all together.
3. Cover the pot and bring it to a simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once the squash is tender all the way through, remove it from the heat and add 1/2 cup milk or cream. Purée about half the soup using a blender, immersion blender, or a food processor, then return it to the pot and keep it warm.
4. Cut the tomatoes into 1/3-inch thick slices and arrange them, overlapping the slices a bit, over 4 plates. Place 6 tablespoons of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Let it melt completely and simmer until nutty and brown. Swirl the pan about every 30 seconds. When the butter turns the color of a hazelnut, remove it from the heat and use a soup spoon to ladle it generously over the tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then get them to the table.
5. Quickly divide the soup into four bowls and garnish with additional tarragon, along with chives, shredded Parmesan cheese, and croutons, if you'd like. Slice up a loaf of good bread and use it to mop up your extra soup and the tomato-y butter drippings.
Photos by James Ransom and Joseph DeLeo