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Garlic Soup / Sopa de Ajo
A big bowl of garlic might not sound like the most appealing meal idea, especially when you're under the weather. But give this classic Spanish dish a chance. Not only has garlic been considered an effective cold-fighting aid for centuries, but you might also find a new favorite soup in this unexpected ingredient.
The beauty of sopa de ajo is its sheer simplicity. Minced pieces of garlic get lightly fried in olive oil and then go on to infuse the broth with mellow garlicky flavor. This simple soup is then ladled into bowls along with cubes of toasted bread and a single poached egg. The result is a fragrant and soul-satisfying soup that is somehow more than its assembled parts, all in about 20 minutes.
It's easy to control the intensity of the garlic in this dish. Using less of it will lower its potency in the soup, of course. Cooking the garlic more slowly and at a lower temperature will also give the soup a gentler flavor.
At the other end of spectrum, raw or barely cooked garlic is thought to have more immune-boosting power than cooked. If this is what is needed, bring the soup to a bare simmer without frying the garlic first. Taste the soup frequently and remove the pot from heat when you're happy with the flavor.
Transforming a handful of pantry staples into a nourishing soup has never been easier or tasted better. A bowl or two of sopa de ajo, and you'll be back on your feet in no time.
Sopa De Ajo (Garlic Soup) Recipe
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced (3-4 tablespoons total)
1/2 pound day-old bread, sliced into bite-sized cubes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, hot pimenton or sweet paprika
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Cilantro for garnish
Pour the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers and glides smoothly over the bottom of the pan, add the minced garlic. Stir every few seconds until the garlic is very fragrant and is just starting to turn golden, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the garlic to a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much of the infused oil as possible.
Add all of the bread to the pan and stir to coat with oil. Toast the cubes, stirring and flipping occasionally, until they are evenly browned on all sides, 3-5 minutes. Divide the toasted bread between four soup bowls.
Return the cooked garlic to the pan along with the smoked paprika, broth, bay leaf and salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat again so the soup maintains a steady simmer.
Crack one of the eggs into a measuring cup and gently tilt it into the simmering broth. Repeat with the other three eggs. Poach 4 minutes for loose yolks or 5 minutes for set yolks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the soup bowls. Taste the broth and add salt or pepper if desired. Ladle the hot broth into the bowls and sprinkle a few leaves of cilantro on top.
Available at Amazon.com:
Fight Colds with Garlic Soup: Sopa de Ajos - Recipe
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