This simple soup tastes outstanding and when you have courgettes coming out of your ears, it feels like an achievement to eat so many in one go. Anyone can make it and it freezes well too.
I know that, like me, my wife and son both really enjoy this (daily) soup, although the question, ‘How many courgettes did you use up?’ does sometimes make me wonder if I should give them the weekends off.
Gently heat the oil in your largest saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and courgettes with a generous sprinkling of salt.
Cover with a lid just smaller than the pan, so it rests on the mountain of courgettes, pressing them down.
Keep the heat low and allow to cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, so that all the courgette chunks get a turn at being on the bottom.
Add the bay leaves and the sprig of thyme and allow to cook gently for a further ten minutes.
Pour in the lemon juice, then replace the lid for about 15 minutes. The courgette chunks will start to break down and release their moisture.
When all the courgettes have softened, there will be a considerable amount of liquid in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and liquidise the contents until the soup is smooth.
The courgette skins will create dark speckles, making a great visual contrast to the almost luminous paler green.
Stir the mint into the soup before serving in individual bowls.
Crumble a small handful of feta into the middle of each bowl, drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and finish with the lemon zest and a scattering of chive flowers, if you are using them.
Try using a leek instead of the onion, or add a hunk of Parmesan rind to the soup mix and hold back on the salt. A few small chillies in the mix make it interesting; this is nice served with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or crème fraiche to take away the heat. It’s also delicious chilled.
This recipe is from The Allotment Cookbook by Pete Lawrence. Published in hardback by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, available on 4 February 2016. Price £14.99