Parmesan & Zucchini Chilled Soup Recipe

Velouté Froid de Courgette au Parmesan

[Parmesan & Zucchini Chilled Soup]

Well, my birthday buffet just had to have something zucchini, no?

This soup was an attempt to reproduce a soup I recently had at R’Aliment, which has become my first choice of restaurant for a weeknight girls’ dinner out with my best friends : excellent food, always different (the menu changes weekly), fresh, light, clean tastes, it never disappoints.

The soup I had in mind was a Délice Froid de Fenouil et Courgettes au Parmesan, which Laurence and I shared the other night while waiting for Marion, who was going to join us as she came out of her African dance class. I decided to try and emulate it, skipping the fennel because I didn’t want the slight hint of aniseed.

My version turned out somewhat differently from theirs : this was my first attempt at cold soups, and I suspect that theirs wasn’t milk or yogurt-based after all, and probably made from just stock and olive oil. Mine was also a tad spicier than I wanted it to be, which is what’s bound to happen when you’re preparing three things at the same time and just throw in a chili pepper without tasting it for strength first!

I liked my version nonetheless, refreshing and tasty with its nice zucchini flavors, enlivened by the sharpness of the parmesan and the tartness of the fermented milk.

Velouté Froid de Courgette au Parmesan

– 1 kg zucchini
– up to 4 C (1 liter) of fermented milk (aka kefir) or plain yogurt
– the juice of a lemon
– two handfuls of fresh basil leaves, rinsed
– a splash of olive oil
– 150 g freshly grated parmesan + a few shavings to decorate
– salt, pepper
– one small chili pepper, finely diced (optional)

Wash the zucchini, trim the ends, and cut them in fourths lengthwise. Using a small knife, scrape out the inside flesh where the seeds reside. Steam the zucchini for about seven minutes, until tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

In a food processor or blender, combine the zucchini flesh, basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, two cups of fermented milk, half the parmesan, and a bit of the chili pepper. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Blend together until thoroughly pureed.

Transfer this mixture into a large salad bowl. Whisk in more fermented milk, one half-cup at a time, until you reach the desired consistency : depending on the water content of the zucchini you used, you’ll need more or less of it. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, chili pepper and/or parmesan as needed.

Cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours, or overnight. Just before serving, whisk again and sprinkle a few parmesan shavings on the surface. Ladle into bowls or, better yet, pretty glasses.

  • Véronique

    Bonjour Clotilde!

    Depuis que Céline m’a parlé de C&Z, je fait régulièrement un petit tour dessus pour trouver de bonnes idées, que ce soit en matière de recettes ou d’adresses de restos à Paris d’ailleurs! C’est toujours un véritable plaisir, un vrai voyage culinaire!
    J’ai les mêmes souvenirs que toi des délicieux Pasteis de Nata découverts à Lisbonne. J’en ai d’ailleurs trouvé récemment de très bons dans une épicerie portuguaise du 15e arrdt!

    Bonne chance pour tous tes projets à venir!
    Je vais faire de la pub pour ton site auprès de copains américains!

  • Queenofclay

    Je suis arrivée sur ce blog par hasard, mais après la visite de l’album photos je pense y revenir très régulièrement !

    à bientôt

  • We went to R’Aliment when in Paris thanks to your recommendation and it was terrific.

    A lot of the cold soups I’ve had here in the US have had a potato base as it adds a thickness/creaminess without dairy. You might try that next time.

  • Véronique – Ravie de te voir ici! Et si tu as en tête l’adresse de cette pâtisserie Portugaise, je suis preneuse!

    Queenofclay – Ce sera avec grand plaisir, à bientôt!

    Brian – Oh I’m delighted you went to R’Aliment and liked it, isn’t it the best of places? I love it. And thanks for the potato tip (how great does that sound, “potato tip”?), I’ll definitely try that!

  • That sounds delicious, Clotilde! Zucchini and Parmesan – there can hardly be a happier marriage. And with the hot, sticky weather we have been having across the Channel, cold soup seems just the thing!

    I must also say that I have fallen in love with your spoon… Who makes it?? What is it called?? Must have, must have!

  • Hi Clotilde,

    That looks beautiful, and it must make a nice refreshing treat on a hot summer day.

    As for your project to write a book, I can’t wait to have a copy myself – well, I sure will just because I have to :-)
    Meanwhile, I’ll treat myself with your upcoming posts. Good luck!

  • Awesome Clo, so glad i found you! I can totally practice my french here. i passed my baccalaureate in 1999 but i thought i forgot every single word of french and today i stumble upon this site and look at that– i actually understand what you guys are talking about! man, now i hunger for paris!!!!
    i’ll be back. a bientot

  • I love a good chilled soup. I’ve got some zucchini squash that are now soup-bound this weekend. I think they’ll adapt to this recipe nicely.

  • vika

    Sounds delicious enough to make today, which I will do right after the farmers’ market. :) Though I wonder about substituting some gorgonzola for the parmesan… I’ve been wanting a blue-veined cheese for a while, so I think that’s what I’ll do! And report here, if I remember to. Thanks, Clotilde!

  • josie

    Mmm, that looks GOOD. I’d put milk or yogurt in, too, since I’m a big fan of anything slightly tart. It seems a very nice recipe.

  • Julie

    Clotilde, when you were in the US, did you use buttermilk in cooking? I’m just wondering if perhaps that’s the closest thing to fermented milk for those of us in the states. We often use it in cold soups or in many of the same ways one would use yogurt…it’s just much more liquid and pourable than yogurt is.


  • Tried it this weekend with a substitution of yellow zucchini squash for the zucchini.

    If anyone else wants to follow the example, I’d increase the amount of squash to a kilo and a half and roast them after peeling and seeding them instead of steaming to concentrate the flavor. The squash was dominated in the version I made by the yogurt.

    I think my chili may have been too hot as well, since it also overwhelmed the zukes in the 1 kg steamed version of the soup.

    Once the zucchini overflow season begins I’ll try the recipe as written.

  • Joy

    Hi Clotilde,

    What a great website you have here! One day (OK early morning) reading and I’m already hooked!

    When I lived in the Bay Area I used to make a version of this soup (with no dairy) starting with the boxed Imagine Bio Bouillon. I’m fairly certain this base and a high quality olive oil would build on the clean, fresh taste of the zuchinni’s, basil and cheese.

    Since I too now live in Paris I’ve had a heck of a time finding a pre-made veggie bio stock. Yeah, I know I can make my own and freeze it, but that’s just alot of time. And, no I can’t believe people really buy any bouillon’s by maggi, utterly disgusting.

    And hey, I’d be delighted to join in any future pot lucks!

  • Liz

    This soup is lovely and refreshing. Thank you for sharing! I used green peppercorns and (because I live in New Mexico and it is that time of year) a roasted green chili.

    If you are in the US and are searching for Kefir, try your local Mexican market

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