Sopa de ajo (Spanish garlic soup) recipe
From Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The Vegetarian Epicure, you chose this sopa de ajo as the first recipe to try. Can you see the garlic oozing from my pores? No? Well, perhaps I slurped up every drop of this soup too quickly! The ingredients are humble -- some broth, a couple of cloves of garlic, stale bread, an egg -- but what happens when they're cooked together is magic, pure and simple. Be sure to slice the garlic rather than mince or put through a press; the garlic will be much sweeter when it's cooked. I made a single serving, in a small pot, using bread that was more than one day old; in fact, it was rock hard, and all I could do was break it into chunks (it looks strange in my photo, but worked perfectly in the soup; your neater slices or squares of day-old bread will look prettier). The author recommends not making more than two or three servings in one pan, and using a large spoon to scoop the individual poached eggs into each soup bowl. Each diner can break his or her own egg into the soup bowl, to bring all of the flavors together.
Sopa de ajo (Spanish garlic soup)
For each serving:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp sweet (Hungarian) paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (pimentón de la Vera), sweet or hot, to taste
2 cups vegetable broth, heated (I used a microwave for this)
A pinch of sea salt
1 oz day-old crusty bread, cubed, thinly sliced, or broken into chunks
1 large egg
Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan. Sauté the sliced garlic over medium heat, for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, until it just starts to color. Remove from the heat and stir in the paprikas, then add the hot broth. Return the pot to the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes. Taste the broth, and add the sea salt.
Add the dry bread and simmer for 2 minutes as the bread softens. In a small bowl, break an egg (try to keep the yolk intact). Slide the egg gently into the soup, and be sure it's fully submerged. If it isn't, carefully ladle some hot broth over it to cook the top. Simmer until the white of the egg is opaque but the yolk is still soft, about 3 minutes. Pour the soup into a soup bowl and serve at once.