It’s Memorial Day weekend the official start of summer and the outdoor cooking season. Typically it’s chilly and rainy here for Memorial Day, (we have had Memorial Day parties where we were forced to grill in the garage for shelter), but this year it’s sunny and warm.
I just came back from the grocery store and it was very well stocked with kebobs and burgers and hot dogs and coleslaw and potato salad. I considered providing a recipe for coleslaw or potato salad. I swear I did, but the truth is they’re everywhere and you probably wouldn’t bother.
So instead I made garlic soup.
I know, you don’t typically think of Garlic Soup as a Memorial Day food. Actually, Fellow FoodBeest, I assert that you don’t think about garlic soup much at all, if you’ve ever even heard of it.
You can make it with the garlic you have at home. Or, if you’re lucky, maybe you can find green garlic. I found them at this week’s Farmers Market. Green garlic is simply immature garlic and looks like a slightly overgrown scallion or green onion and smells faintly of garlic. They are pulled by growers when thinning crops. It is subtler in flavor than a mature garlic bulb.
Garlic soup happens to be a perfect soup for this brink-of-summer season. It’s not what you would think. Garlic soup costs nothing to make. It is sweet and smooth and creamy and the color of butter. It’s good hot, cold or room temperature.
I dare you to try it. I double-dare you.
What You Need to Make Creamy Garlic Soup
½ T butter
2 T olive oil
12 medium cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled, and chopped
(or 6 medium cloves of garlic (smashed, peeled and chopped) and three green garlic stalks up to the green, thinly sliced)
½ medium onion chopped
¼ C white wine or vermouth
1 quart (4 cups) water
1 bay leaf
2 sage leaves
2 stalks fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
What You Need to Make the Thickener for Garlic Soup:
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
1½ oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
Day-old crusty bread Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
How To Make Creamy Garlic Soup
Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and green garlic if you are using it. Sauté gently until just translucent.
Add white wine or vermouth and cook gently until nearly evaporated.
Add the water, garlic cloves, bay leaves, sage, thyme and salt. Heat to a gentle boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
Strain into a bowl, remove the bay, thyme and sage leaves from the strainer, and return the broth and garlic back to the saucepan, off the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Put it though a fine strainer, using a wooden spoon or a flexible spatula to push as much through the strainer as possible, while being sure that the broth is completely smooth.
With a fork, whisk the egg, egg yolk, cheese, and pepper together in a bowl until creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating all the time, then (very slowly) add a large ladle of the broth, continuing to whisk.
Stir the egg-based thickener into the garlic broth and whisk it continuously over a medium-low heat until it thickens slightly. You can choose the consistency. You don’t want it to be watery but you also don’t want it as thick as a cream sauce. I like it just the consistency of cream.
Place a handful of torn bread chunks into the bottom of each bowl and pour the soup over the bread. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups of soup.