LYL: côte d’azur cure-all soup

Cup of Soup

Last week, Howard and I took a brief tropical interlude from winter, visiting our parents in South Florida. When we returned mid-week, the snow piles were noticeably smaller, but Old Man Winter has made it clear that even today, on the first day of spring, he’s not quite ready to give up his grip on cold weather. It’s been downright cold with a dusting of snow expected later today.

Fortunately, this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was the perfect antidote to days of the typical vacation diet (too much) and readjusting to cold temperatures. Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup reminded me of the “stone soup” story. Who would think that a head of garlic and some herbs simmered in water would be something good to eat? Though the ingredients didn’t seem promising, this is truly a recipe for making something from practically nothing.

Ingredients

You start by slicing an entire head of garlic into thin slices. This step was tedious, but not terrible. Oh, was I ever missing the never-used mini-garlic mandoline that I discarded in my last kitchen drawer purge… You really never know when you’ll need something. I wish I’d put in the box with the spaetzle press that turned out to be so useful, rather than the Goodwill bag.

Simple SImmer

The slivered garlic, a bouquet garni of thyme and sage sprigs and some bay leaves, and some salt are simmered in water for half an hour. I was surprised by how much flavor the resulting broth had. It definitely tasted of garlic, but mellow with no residual sharpness or bitterness.

Dorie gives the option to puree or not to puree. (I chose not to puree which is said to be more traditional.) To finish the soup, egg yolks are whisked with grated Parmesan cheese. (More egg whites to use, getting tired of croquants!) Then the cheesy blob is tempered with some warm soup before whisking it back into the broth.

Cheesy Blob

I wasn’t sure what would end up in the pot with the various warnings and caveats in the recipe. The egg yolks were meant to thicken the soup. The warm soup mixed with the egg mixture was meant to prevent curdling. I was imagining something between Chinese egg drop soup and Greek Avgolemono soup. When the egg and cheese mixture was mixed back in, the soup became opaque and a pale lemony yellow. It remained smooth and thickened only slightly. I could have added more egg yolks to make it thicker, but I decided not to.

I drizzled some olive oil from Provence on each bowl and served this as a starter before a quick version of cassoulet for our first post-vacation home-cooked meal, one with a French twist.

The soup was light and flavorful. Even though it was good, I’m not sure I’d make it again. I’d be more likely to try the imagined egg drop or Avgolemono soup, neither of which I’ve made before.

To see how my Dorista friends made out with their restorative soups, check out their links here. You can also find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

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Posted on 20 March 2015, in French Fridays with Dorie, Soup and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I have noticed how thin everyone’s soup is thin which surprised me because of the amount of cheese in the recipe. My soup was thick. I used all chicken broth, 6 yolks, but only one tablespoon of cheese? I also put olive oil and a few vegetables in the soup too…weird.
    I’m watching the snow coming down too… but it is supposed to be warm. It is all going to melt..eventually.

  2. trevorsisboom

    More egg yolks won’t really end up giving this soup any additional thickness beyond their own inherent consistency which is vastly diluted here. Perhaps if you were to bake the soup for an hour like a custard the proteins would do their thing and thicken but curdling is more likely.

  3. I have been saving my egg whites in groups of two in the freezer, you never know when
    they will be needed. Of course, there is always Angel food cake for strawberry season,
    with a little whipped cream. Your soup looks good. We enjoyed ours, but the garlic
    after taste was a bit too much to take, even though I removed the germ. Welcome home to spring and don’t put the shovel away just yet.

  4. This would be a perfect post-vacation soup. Cleansing but delicious. I hope your enjoyed your time in the sun!

  5. I didn’t feel like croquants or those little coconut cakes (can’t remember the name) either. So this time I stored the egg whites in the fridge overnight and the next morning I added one whole egg and my usual extras and made scrambled eggs. The one whole egg gave it the right color and with my usual add ins, they didn’t even taste healthy.

  6. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, an interesting simple yet complex soup. I know what you mean about ridding of gadgets, and later wondering why you did so, but still seems that you managed on the garlic nevertheless. I love the Stone Soup book. We got another five inches of the puffy white stuff yesterday which sent all havoc into driving travel, looking forward to the rapid melt, I hope. Happy Spring.

  7. This is exactly why I have so much trouble getting rid of kitchen gadgets, or anything really :-) I really do admire your kitchen purge, though. I need to do a better job with mine…

  8. thekitchenlioness

    Dear Betsy, from the pictures that you posted on facebook, I could see that you really enjoyed your trip to Florida! What a nice break from that long and harsh winter you are having! Your soup has a wonderful golden color – I could not get myself to use water, so I prepared a chicken broth first and then proceed (almost) wth this rexcipe – a nice soup.
    Have a lovely weekend, dear friend,
    Andrea

  9. I’m glad you and Howard had a great vacation! I can’t believe there was more snow waiting for you when you returned home, though – what a winter it’s been for many people this year!

    I really enjoyed this soup (and made cake with the leftover whites – the Visitandine especially freezes well).

  10. I heard we had some more snow yesterday – it is supposed to be in the teens when we fly in tonight. For now, I am soaking up every ounce of warm and sun that I can . A few days of sun and water has done wonders to help me shake off my winter funk – I keep reminding myself that the worst is over and in another month or so, it will be time to start thinking about mulch and lawnmowing :-)

  11. I will have to take your suggestion as a cure all soup for over eating. We leave for vacation on Friday, a cruise. A vacation known for over eating:) For egg whites try from BCM cocoa crunch meringue sandwiches page 293.

  12. Glad you had a good time in Florida. This soup surprised me – I liked it.

  13. I could tell from your pictures that you were having a great vacation with your families in Florida. Just to see and feel that sunshine had to be wonderful. I will be returning to Winter next week and am not so happy about that. But, that’s when I’ll try this soup. Every time you mention that darn spaetzle press I am reminded of the fact that you could even go down to your basement and, what do you know, find a spaetzle press. After my disasterous week of making spaetzle and reading from your Post how easy it was because of the Press, I knew you were someone I had to know better. And, I have. Glad you’re home safely and, in spite of Mother Nature, Spring will show up eventually.

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