A muse for spring and summer creations.
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Cream of Zucchini and Anise Soup
Warm or chilled. Elegant.
Also fabulous as small plate offering.
(from about 6 medium zucchini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or whipping cream
2 tablespoons Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
Additional olive oil for drizzling
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped zucchini and chopped onion and saut until onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups water, chopped garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds and thyme sprig. Stir in 2 tablespoons crème fraîche and 2 tablespoons Pernod. Simmer soup uncovered 20 minutes. Remove thyme sprig from soup. Working in batches, purée soup in processor until smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Return to saucepan and rewarm over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Sparkling treat as amuse bouche or appetizer.
5 ounces baked ham, sliced 1/4 inch thick
and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure olive oil,
1 medium onion,
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
5 large eggs, beaten
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, halved
1/4 cup water
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer the onion to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Cut the long zucchini in half lengthwise. Or cut off the top quarters of the round zucchini. Scoop out the insides, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. Add the bread crumbs, parsley and ham to the onion and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix in the eggs. Season the zucchini shells with salt and pepper and fill them with the stuffing. Cover with the lids if using round zucchini. Grease a large baking pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the water, garlic and tomatoes and arrange the stuffed zucchini in the pan–drizzle the zucchini generously with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25 minutes, or until browned on top.
Spoon the pan juices over the zucchini and serve.
Zucchini Ribbons with Raw Tomato Marinara
Piquant. Pithy presentation.
1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, diced
2 dry-packed or oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 soft Medjool date, pitted and minced
1 small garlic clove
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon coarsley chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a blender, combine the fresh tomatoes with the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, date, garlic, thyme and parsley and puree until smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Using a mandoline, cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices, then cut the slices lengthwise into 1/8-inch strips resembling spaghetti. Transfer the zucchini noodles to a bowl. Add the marinara sauce,
toss to coat and serve.
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