Yields 10 cups (serves 6 to 8)
Total time: About 1 hour
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 heads garlic, cloves separated, peeled and thinly sliced
16 fresh squash flowers, cleaned, stems, and pistils removed, or 2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced into half moons
2 leaves hierba santa, ribs removed and cut into strips, or ½ cup thinly sliced fennel
8 cups chicken stock
1 dried chile de árbol or chile japonés
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Gouda cheese, cut into ½-inch chunks, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
1. In a large saucepan over low, heat the olive oil and garlic. Cook, stirring so it does not brown, until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the squash flowers or zucchini and hierba santa or fennel and cook, stirring and taking care not to break up the squash flowers, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, chile, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are completely tender, about 45 minutes.
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the parsley. To serve, place cubes of gouda in the bottom of each soup bowl, ladle the soup over the cheese, and sprinkle with parmesan.