All the rain of late in Sydney has reminded me of a recipe I shared way back in 2012 because then it was also a soggy start to October. Funny how one’s brain works.
The recipe is for a creamy (without cream), delicious and totally irresistible garlic soup. I used a recipe by Heidi Swanson over at 101 Cookbooks who in turn had adapted it from an original recipe in Richard Olney’s world-renowned The French Menu Cookbook. When my daughter Grace and I made it all those years ago we also tinkered with the recipe a little.
- 4 cups of water
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sage leaves
- 3/4 tsp fresh thyme
- 12 large cloves fresh garlic, smash-peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 45g grated parmesan cheese
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- Half a loaf of day-old crusty bread
- Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the bay leaf, sage, thyme, garlic and salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain into a bowl, remove the sage and bay leaves and return the broth and garlic back to the saucepan, off the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- With a fork, whisk the egg, egg yolks, cheese and pepper together in a bowl until creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating all the time, then add (slowly, slowly continuing to whisk) a large handful of the broth. Now stir the contents of the bowl into the garlic broth and whisk it continuously over low-medium heat until it thickens slightly. Olney states, "just long enough to no longer be water." Heidi on the other hand usually lets it go a wee bit beyond that; "until it is the consistency of half and half (pouring) cream." I'm with Heidi.
- Place a handful of torn bread chunks into the bottom of 4-5 soup bowls and pour the soup over the bread. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with some flowering thyme and a sweet little nasturtium leaf (or whatever herbs you have to hand) and serve immediately with a glass of robust shiraz.
If you do try this recipe, please promise me that you will use fresh, locally grown garlic. Imported garlic is almost always sprayed with hideous chemicals. If you’re in Australia, Patrice Newell grows some of the best. John Newton has also just written a fascinating book on Australia’s relationship with garlic.
Until next time…