Food and Drink

This chilled zucchini avocado soup gets summertime smokiness from charred vegetables

Next time you light the grill, make room for some fresh vegetables and whizz up this quick summer soup. The poblano-corn salsa gets depth of flavor from charring over a hot grill. Alternatively, you can use a grill pan or roast vegetables in the oven but the profile won’t have that same summertime smokiness. This can be made one day in advance and you might consider doubling the recipe; the charred salsa can be amped up with added tomatoes or more chiles and served with grilled steak or chicken; fish tacos, or layered into grilled cheese. Dress it up with some microgreens or even some smoked salmon. A last-minute swirl of sour cream or crème fraîche adds a bit of richness and tang. — Kim Sunée

Chilled zucchini avocado soup

Makes 4 servings

3 to 4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 pounds), plus more for garnish, if desired

2 ears of corn

2 poblano chiles

1 jalapeño or serrano chile, stem and seeds removed


3 cloves garlic, divided

2 limes, divided

1 small cucumber (6 ounces)

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 ripe avocado

Up to 3/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable broth, preferably homemade, or water

1/2 small white or yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup packed fresh chopped cilantro

Optional garnishes: crème fraîche, sour cream, or plain yogurt; avocado slices; zucchini slices; fresh mint, cilantro, microgreens; drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil; flake salt

• Light a charcoal grill or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Alternatively, heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut zucchini lengthwise and in half. Shuck corn. Place zucchini, corn, poblano, and jalapeño over hot grill (or in hot grill pan or on sheet pan in oven), turning every so often, until lightly charred and just tender, 10 to 12 minutes, depending on heat level. Place all grilled vegetables in a large bowl.

• Remove stem and seeds from poblanos and jalapeño; place 1 of the poblanos in bowl of high-powered blender along with jalapeño, zucchini, 2 of the garlic cloves, 3/4 teaspoon salt, juice of one lime, and cucumber. Cover and blend until almost smooth. Add avocado and blend; add up to 3/4 cup broth or water, if too thick. Taste and add more salt or lime or garlic, as needed. Cover and chill in fridge two hours and up to overnight.

• For the salsa, cut kernels from cobs into a bowl. Chop remaining poblano and add to corn. Mince remaining garlic clove and add to corn and poblano along with juice of remaining lime, diced onion, cilantro, salt, and pepper, to taste; set aside.

• When ready to serve, remove soup from fridge, taste and adjust seasoning. Divide among 4 serving bowls or wide short glasses and garnish with crème fraîche, herbs, and poblano-corn salsa, a drizzle of good olive oil and some flake salt. Soup and salsa can be made one day ahead and stored, covered, separately, in fridge.

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée is a bestselling author ("Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home," "A Mouthful of Stars," "Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks") and a former magazine food editor. She's based in Anchorage. For more food and travel, visit