Creamy Garlic and Saffron Soup with Poached Egg
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the small treasures in front of you when you’re longing for something that’s just out of reach. For me, as winter drags on, I can’t wait for the spring vegetables to arrive but I found my favorite garlic Rose du Lautrec that I grew last year. I love Rose du Lautrec garlic and have been hording it. It is perfect for this soups’ satiny texture. The addition of poached eggs makes it lavish; of course the soup is delicious on its own. Include a baguette drizzled with your best extra virgin olive oil and you’ve created an early spring delight.
The delicate flavor of saffron in this soup is addictive. The saffron should be alluring and in the background. Saffron is incredibly flavorful in small doses and it’s easy to use too much which will give it a medicinal taste.
If you decide to make this soup here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Garlic: The beauty of garlic from your garden or the farmers’ market is its flavor. Most of the commercial garlic is grown for their yield not flavor. This soup is delicious with most varieties of garlic.
-Saffron: You want to use really fresh saffron. The best saffron has a range of color from marigold to a deep orangish red. Lightly warming the saffron in a dry pan will increase the aromas. The flavor of saffron increases with time.
- Blanching: If you take the time to blanch the garlic it smoothes out any harshness and becomes milder each time you blanch it.
- Blending technique: Here’s what you can do to make this soup exceptional. Puree the soup in a blender for at least one minute. This is the one time you’ll use your blender when the clean up time is worth it.
2 ounces garlic cloves, peeled (1 head of garlic)
1 large pinch saffron threads (about 12 saffron threads)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup leeks, white part only, sliced 1/4-inch
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup cream
1 teaspoon black cypress sea salt (for garnish)
4 eggs poached (see recipe below)
French bread toasted
1. Heat water in a small pot, when it boils add the garlic cloves and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat. Reserve the garlic for the soup.
2. Place a small pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add the saffron and cook for just a few seconds and add it to the stock.
3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and cook the leeks with a pinch of salt over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until soft, stirring often. Add the cooked garlic cloves, stock, potatoes, salt, and pepper, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 7-8 minutes (until the potato is soft).
4. Stir in the cream and remove the soup from the heat and let cool a bit before transferring it to a blender and puree for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth. Return the soup to a clean pot and reheat. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you used homemade stock it will need a fair amount of salt.
5. Poach the eggs and toast the bread.
6. Place the poached egg in a soup plate and ladle the soup around it, then sprinkle with the black Cypress sea salt.
4 large fresh AA eggs, farm fresh if possible
2 tablespoons vinegar
1. While the soup is cooking, poach the eggs. Fill a shallow pan with 3-4 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Set a large bowl of warm water near the pan along with a coffee cup and a skimmer or slotted spoon.
2. Add vinegar to the water in the pan. Then crack an egg into the coffee cup and gently slide it into the simmering water. Add the rest of the eggs one at a time. Make sure the water is at a gentle simmer before adding the next egg. When they are cooked (about 3-4 minutes) remove with a skimmer to the warm water. The white should be firm and the yolk still liquid. (If you are not serving right away under-cook the eggs slightly and then refrigerate in cold water until ready to use. Reheat in gently simmering water.)
3. Remove the eggs and gently trim any stray bits of egg white with a small knife. Place one each on soup plates.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie