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Sopa de Ajo / Aigo Bouido

Sopa de Ajo / Aigo Bouido
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  • Sopa de Ajo / Aigo Bouido

    Post #1 - February 16th, 2006, 10:06 am
    Post #1 - February 16th, 2006, 10:06 am Post #1 - February 16th, 2006, 10:06 am
    Sopa de Ajo / Aigo Bouido
    L’aigo bouido sauvo la vido

    Part One


    One of the most basic ‘dishes’ of the cuisines of the Western Mediterranean is garlic soup. I put scare-quotes around the word dish here because it is really more a family of dishes, with potentially an infinite number of variants bound together by shared use of a few of the most elemental ingredients and a couple of simple principles. Garlic soup is the quintessential poverty food. The Provençal saying -- l’aigo bouido sauvo la vido, that is, ‘boiled water (i.e. garlic soup) saves life’ -- is taken by some as a reference just to the medicinal qualities the soup is believed to have but I believe it also refers to the soup’s old function as the last line of defence against hunger.

    There are no more elemental ingredients than the ones that form the basis of garlic soup: water, garlic, stale bread and salt. The recipe is correspondingly simple: boil garlic in water and then pour the water and garlic over stale bread; add a pinch of salt if you have it. Of course, if one has more resources, one can embellish the dish. If you have olive oil, you can add a little at the end, drizzled onto the sops, or for a different flavour profile, you can gently fry the garlic in the oil before adding the water. And if you have some spices, certain of those can be added judiciously to enhance flavour – some black pepper or a little pimentón, as in Spain, or clove, as in Provence. When the time of year is right, one can add fresh herbs, with parsley predictably being the most basic choice, but others are regular additions in some places, such as the sage used in western Provence. Beyond these various ways to enhance the flavour, there are some further basic humble ingredients which can be introduced both to enhance flavour and to fortify the dish substantially; the meal becomes a small feast through the addition of eggs -- either to poach in the broth or to be beaten and stirred in – or through the addition of cheese, perhaps to adorn the slices of old bread.

    But whatever one adds, it seems to me crucial always to bear in mind that this dish is first and foremost about water, garlic and stale bread.

    ***

    I embrace all the better known, traditional varieties of garlic soup, from the dark Castilian version to the fragrant version of Aix, with its orange peel and fennel and cloves. But on most occasions, I make garlic soup in simple ways that reflect what I happen to have on hand at the moment. Here is a recent and particularly tasty version:

    The basis: stale bread, its flavour enhanced through toasting.
    Image

    The ‘broth’ was made with garlic and one serrano chile, all gently fried in my green Andalucian olive oil; to that were added salt, a small handful each of Italian parsley and cilantro, and finally an egg, which I let poach in the soup.
    Image

    To finish this Mexicanised version of sopa de ajo, I crumbled on a little queso cotija from a piece (shown above) imported from Michoacan.
    Image

    Very simple, very delicious and, even with the imported cotija, very cheap.

    Part Two to follow.

    Antonius

    Links to other recipes and cooking notes by this writer: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=55649#55649
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #2 - February 16th, 2006, 11:57 am
    Post #2 - February 16th, 2006, 11:57 am Post #2 - February 16th, 2006, 11:57 am
    Damn, that looks so good, per the other thread, I'm ready to propose to you.

    Jonah
  • Post #3 - February 16th, 2006, 12:18 pm
    Post #3 - February 16th, 2006, 12:18 pm Post #3 - February 16th, 2006, 12:18 pm
    :D :D :D

    Sorry, he's taken!
  • Post #4 - February 16th, 2006, 2:17 pm
    Post #4 - February 16th, 2006, 2:17 pm Post #4 - February 16th, 2006, 2:17 pm
    A,

    What a beautiful dish, and so beautiful, in part, because so simple.

    I make garlic soup many times every winter, and only twice have I made it with garlic that has not spent at least a little time in hot oil. I understand that the roots of this paradigmatic 'dish' require one to use whatever is on hand, but if you have oil, I can't see not using it to take the garlic to golden. When garlic is not heated first in oil, it seems like its flavor is stillborn.

    On Valentine's Day, I got a big loaf of bread from Renee Turano (as did everyone in my Italian class) -- we will not be able to finish it before it goes stale, but now I know what I'll do with it.

    Hammond
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #5 - February 17th, 2006, 8:01 am
    Post #5 - February 17th, 2006, 8:01 am Post #5 - February 17th, 2006, 8:01 am
    Antonius wrote:The ‘broth’ was made with garlic and one serrano chile, all gently fried in my green Andalucian olive oil; to that were added salt, a small handful each of Italian parsley and cilantro, and finally an egg, which I let poach in the soup.

    Antonius,

    Maybe, as Hammond said, it's the simplicity, maybe the egg or, maybe, I just love garlic, but your garlic soup is calling me, loudly.

    From all of us who enjoy your recipes once again, thanks.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - February 17th, 2006, 9:13 am
    Post #6 - February 17th, 2006, 9:13 am Post #6 - February 17th, 2006, 9:13 am
    A--

    Are you aware of a variation that includes white beans and possibly some pork fat? My mother made this when I was a kid, calling it "pannagot" or something similar tthat I assume is a variation on "panna cotta." I took the recipe to college and fed masses of hungry roommates with it. Haven't made it in years.

    JB
  • Post #7 - February 17th, 2006, 9:19 am
    Post #7 - February 17th, 2006, 9:19 am Post #7 - February 17th, 2006, 9:19 am
    JeffB wrote:A--

    Are you aware of a variation that includes white beans and possibly some pork fat? My mother made this when I was a kid, calling it "pannagot" or something similar tthat I assume is a variation on "panna cotta." I took the recipe to college and fed masses of hungry roommates with it. Haven't made it in years.

    JB


    Si, certo!

    The Italian side of things will be addressed in Part Two! (It's only half complete at the moment.)

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #8 - February 27th, 2017, 6:33 pm
    Post #8 - February 27th, 2017, 6:33 pm Post #8 - February 27th, 2017, 6:33 pm
    Hi,

    Around Lent especially, I think of Tony's practice of using dried bread.

    For reasons unexplained, we have a lot of bread at home. I am going to try Tony's garlic soup with bread. I also found this dish on the New York Times, which uses fish sauce (as a substitute for garam?). Pasta with Garlicky Breadcrumbs.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #9 - February 27th, 2017, 8:20 pm
    Post #9 - February 27th, 2017, 8:20 pm Post #9 - February 27th, 2017, 8:20 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    Around Lent especially, I think of Tony's practice of using dried bread.

    For reasons unexplained, we have a lot of bread at home. I am going to try Tony's garlic soup with bread. I also found this dish on the New York Times, which uses fish sauce (as a substitute for garam?). Pasta with Garlicky Breadcrumbs.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    I've made the NYT recipe numerous times. It's quite good and Merle Approved 8)
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #10 - November 20th, 2021, 2:48 pm
    Post #10 - November 20th, 2021, 2:48 pm Post #10 - November 20th, 2021, 2:48 pm
    Hi,

    On the subject of breadcrumbs, in today's Splendid Table email blast was a recipe for Crispy Breadcrumb Fried Eggs.

    Cleaning up for Thanksgiving means cleaning the kitchen of odds and ends. A very dry loaf of French bread just broke apart quickly. The bread crumbs fried in butter, then eggs cracked on top. The egg whites adhere to the crumbs making its own raft. Flipping the raft over was quite convenient to finish cooking the egg whites.

    The best part of this meal was my Dad catching a glimpse of the book's title where the recipe was found: Cooking with Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals by Lindsay-Jean Hard (Workman Publishing). Copyright (c) 2018.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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