For over 20 years Eduardo de san Angel was a coveted reservation during high season in Fort Lauderdale. Authentic chilies, spices, and fresh, vibrant herbs enhanced the classic seafood, poultry, and meat dishes at this cozy Mexican enclave known for its hospitality. The intimate, hacienda-style rooms invited romance, and my husband and I often dined here on our date nights, away from the children.Skilled chef-owner Eduardo Pria prepared creative Mexican fare, and in recent years he redesigned many of his classic recipes to create more healthful options. For frequent diners like us there was no need to see the menu, the dishes we loved were embedded in our taste memory. Food memories are powerful and one of our favorite crave-worth dishes was Pria’s Cilantro Soup. It was not on the menu, rather offered as a special. Fresh, vibrant, clean and simply delicious! When prepared with vegetable broth it’s a vegan’s delight, and a lovely way for those on a plant-based diet to dine well. When we returned to South Florida this year and discovered that Pria retired, closing one of our favorite restaurants, we immediately longed for his Cilantro Soup. Several emails and google searches later I pieced together the recipe for this delicious soup, the one we loved, where Pria uses squash to thicken the soup, replacing the heavy cream. Our romantic get-away will be missed, as will many of Pria’s wonderful dishes, but knowing we can enjoy his Cilantro Soup is comforting and sharing this at home brought a little romance to our table. Homemade vegetable or chicken broth is best, and if using prepared broths be sure they are low sodium. Fresh, fragrant cilantro will yield the best results. We always opted for the Queso Fresca and Crema, both of which add a creamy tang to the dish.

Ingredients

1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 Large garlic clove, chopped
1 Medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
4 Medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
4 Medium yellow squash, coarsely chopped
1 Small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (leave a few seeds, if desired)
6 Ounces-Baby spinach leaves
2 Ounces-Cilantro, washed and stems intact, plus more for garnish
9 cups Vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Crumbled Queso Fresco, for garnish
Mexican Crema, for garnish

Directions

Step 1
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, and jalapeno peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Step 2
Add spinach and cilantro, reserving a few sprigs of cilantro for garnish. Continue cooking and stirring 3 minutes, or until greens have released their juices. Add broth and bring to a boil.

Step 3
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin, and add salt and white pepper, to taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow soup to cool to room temperature.

Step 4
Using a blender or food processor, puree soup in batches. Press puree through a strainer. Discard solids and return soup to saucepan to rewarm just before serving.

Step 5
Garnish soup with cilantro sprigs. If desired add crumbled queso fresco and drizzle with Mexican crema.