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Frisian Mint-Zucchini Soup

This marvelous recipe was sent to me by Jacqueline, a native of Frisia. The soup is not nearly as unusual as you'd think, except in the best sense of the word. Somehow the creamy, savoury base of the soup is a perfect counterpoint to the mint. It is sustaining, inexpensive, easy to prepare, low in calories, and will truly make your reputation with your guests if you serve it at a dinner party. Serve hot to 2-3 people as a first course.

  • 2 Tablespoons oil (safflower or other vegetable, but not olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 big zucchini, coarsely cut into ½-inch cubes (1-cm)
  • 2 cups of milk (½ litre)
  • concentrated vegetable base that would dilute to make 2 cups of stock (but don't dilute it)
  • 2 handfuls of fresh mint
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Garnish: mint leaves

Fry the onion in the oil until slightly golden. Add the garlic and zucchini and stir-fry for about half a minute. Make sure the vegetables don't borwn lest the soup become bitter. Add just enough milk to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, stir in the vegetable base, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the zucchini is cooked but not quite well-done. Switch off the heat, stir in the mint, count to 5, then puree. If it's too thick, add some more milk. If it needs more of an edge, add some salt and/or pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately, garnishing with a few young mint leaves.