January 2, 2011

Cure-All Garlic Soup


A Big Bowlful of Dorie's Cure-All Garlic Soup

A bevy of interesting new cookbooks came my way as special Christmas gifts. Alice Waters; New York Times; Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc along with his sumptuous Bouchon, which can be described as food porn at its best. As my gift-giving sister-in-law described it, "There's a recipe for quiche that takes two days!" All of these wish-list books are inspiring, but the one that has grabbed my imagination first is Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

My Baby and I spent our first married Christmas in San Francisco at the home of his sister, enjoying the company of his three siblings and their mates (some from Belgium, from which one cookbook came as you can see, and some from Virginia), a young niece who had come from her school in India, and his mother (who had also made her way from Virginia.) On our long day's drive home I felt a sore throat and head cold come on. As I was thumbing through Dorie's book, I noted a recipe that she calls Côte de Azur Cure-All Soup. Bingo.

I love breaking in a new hard-back cookbook!

Last year, I'd used a similar recipe several times from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog. I'd served the soup in demitasse cups as a warming appetizer for guests, and in bowls as our meal another time. The soup bore a rustic yet elegant grace that I love which comes from minimally intervening with simple, whole foods. It struck me as a soup that would be perfect to make whenever someone wasn't feeling well... It just has the feel of having healing properties, and I'm happy to pass it on before the full thrust of cold and flu season hits. The ingredient list was for the most part (whole eggs vs. egg yolks alone) the same as Dorie's recipe, but the ratios and technique (no olive oil mixed with the yolks in Dorie's version) are subtly different. I couldn't wait to make Dorie's interpretation the next day.
A Few Simple Ingredients
This soup is easy as anything you've ever made, uses only a few ingredients which most of us have around, and is ready to eat in less than 45 minutes. Layed out for you here is the stripped-down version of the recipe, but do seek out her book. She includes beautiful photos, great history and modern French form.

Côte d'Azur Cure-All Soup
1 large head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
(Dorie "takes garlic down a notch" in all of her recipes by cutting the clove in half vertically and removing the green germ, which I find unnecessary.)

We are lucky enough to use garlic grown locally by our friends, Chip and Toni.

This is my favorite tool for slicing quantities of garlic paper-thin. I found it in my local produce department years ago for under five dollars. In this recipe, the thinner the garlic the better, as far as I'm concerned, as more surface area is exposed to release flavor as well as for a light, elegant finished texture to the soup. The broth is delightfully tasty, but each spoonful contains just tender whispers of garlic slices. Very nice.

6 fresh sage leaves, 2 large thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves tied together in a bouquet garni with kitchen twine.
Toss the sliced garlic, bouquet garni, one quart of good chicken stock and 2 cups water into a 4-quart soup pot. Add one teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk 3 (and up to 6) egg yolks with 3 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese (one cup.) When I'd made the soup before, I used the maximum quantity of eggs, but loved the light, refined texture that only three provided this time.

After the broth and garlic mixture has simmered for 30 minutes, remove the bouquet garni. Whisk a couple of ladlefuls of broth into the egg/cheese mixture until smooth, then slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot with the broth. Remove the pot from the heat, whisking for another minute. The eggs will ever so slightly thicken the broth. Gentle residual heat is all that is needed at this time to keep the eggs from curdling.

Drizzle the soup with some fruity olive oil before serving.

The Cure-All name of this recipe isn't an exaggeration. A couple bowlsful of this soup and I was as good as new.

Oh, there is so much fun to be had with these books that I can hardly wait. I'll be sure to share when we come across special hits. And, many thanks to my new family-by-marriage for creating such a memorable holiday and birthday this year.

18 comments:

  1. I tried little bit different garlic soup :) it was without eggs. This one looks lovely too :)

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  2. Oh that soup sounds and looks so delicious!

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  3. I love garlic! Wish I could have some of that soup now.

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  4. Glad you're feeling better! Gorgeous photos and a wonderful soup. I've been debating between Dorie's book and Ad Hoc with my Amazon gift certificate. I was leaning toward Ad Hoc because his friedchicken was so awesome but now you've got me leaning toward the French Table. Any input?

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  5. Really nice looking soup, and beautifully presented. I have a friend who just can't get enough garlic. Think I'll have to make a batch of this.

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  6. Congrats on the cookbook xmas haul! I have many of these and they are all fabulous! I've always known that garlic really helps with your immune system (even was coerced into eating whole garlic cloves when very sick once in college; don't recommend it). This soup really looks like 'just what the doctor ordered'.

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  7. You are so lucky to be the recipient of so many wonderful cookbooks! Glad that your feeling better. The garlic soup must have been the cure. My mother believed that garlic could cure anything that ails you:)

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  8. Don't you just love new books?? You have weeks and weeks of reading and trying on your hands.
    The soup looks simply wonderful. I will definitely keep this one on hand! Happy New Year to you!

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  9. Hi, everyone! Your responses to this post remind me of this terrific and true quote:

    "Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it GOOD!"

    When I was single, I thought it was funny when men would avoid garlic on dates... avoiding garlic, picky eaters and wearing cologne (it interferes with food and wine aromas too much!) were sure signs of being a "no second-dater!"

    Kate, for my personal cooking/eating style, I'd definitely go for the French Table first, but do make Ad Hoc your next purchase. It is a welcome addition as well. I'm a little late to to the "Dorie party", but I can't seem to get enough at the moment! She makes French food fun, I'll say.

    Thanks to all for your readership and kind comments. My best,
    Pam

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  10. as I cough typing this...I truly could use it on my table!

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  11. I have a sore throat! Wish I had a bowl of this right now!!

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  12. If my dad saw this recipe, he would say, "I told you so"! He cures everything with garlic, including paper cuts. :)
    Dorie's recipes are amazing, to say the least. I'm sure this soup is insanely delicious.

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  13. I gave Dorie's book as Christmas presents. (Knew I should have kept one for myself.) But I got a new (to me) book by Laurie Colwin -- and I devoured it. Wonderful writer.

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  14. So warm, cozy and that sharp glass of red looks just perfect. I love your site. Your location caught my eye, as I am also from this beautiful state. I live on Vineyards and have the privilege of local ingredients at my fingertips. It's always fun to find other folks that can relate to all the beautiful seasons we have:)

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  15. I love garlic - I can imagine how good it must be in soup! Maybe some garlic bread on the side, too? :) Yum.

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  16. Looked absolutely mouthwatering till those dreaded eggs made an appearance. I'm going to make this anyway - without eggs or chicken stock. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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  17. I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.

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