23Garlic and saffron give an irresistible depth of flavor to the broth that forms the base of this Spanish soup. A slice of toasted rustic bread is placed in the bottom of each soup bowl. Each toast is topped with an egg that has been quickly poached in the broth. Hot broth is ladled into each bowl and a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley adds a final flourish. Serve it as a hearty first course, a light main course or an unconventional yet welcoming breakfast.
When buying garlic, avoid heads with shriveled or soft cloves. Purchase plump, firm bulbs with dry skins that have been stored at room temperature rather than refrigerated. Heads should feel heavy for their size. Moisture destroys garlic. Store whole heads in cool, dark location with plenty of breathing room. Breaking into cloves is convenient but shortens the shelf life.
Spanish Garlic Soup
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 (1/2-inch thick) slices rustic, crusty bread, whole-wheat sour dough preferred
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
- 5 large peeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 5 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1/8 teaspoon ground saffron
- Salt to taste
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Adjust oven rack to 8 inches below broiling element; preheat broiler. Using 1 tablespoon oil, brush bread slices on both sides. Place on rimmed baking sheet and broil until bread is lightly toasted. Turn and toast on opposite side until lightly browned. Watch carefully because bread can burn easily.
2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy-bottomed, large saucepan or Dutch oven on low heat. Add garlic and cook until golden and softened (but not burned), about 10 minutes. Add paprika and cumin; stir to combine and remove pan from stove.
3. Tilt pan and push ingredients to one side; mash garlic with fork tines. Return pan to stove; stir in broth and saffron. Bring to simmer on high heat; reduce heat to medium or medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.
4. Lower heat enough so that soup is barely simmering. Break 1 egg in a small cup (such as a dry measuring cup with a handle) and holding the cup next to the broth, tip egg into broth. Repeat with remaining eggs. Cook until egg whites set, about 5 minutes.
5. In each of 4 shallow soup bowls, place toasted bread slice. Using a slotted spoon, place an egg atop each. Ladle soup into bowls and top with parsley and Parmesan. Serve.