Guaranteed to cure what ails, this warming soup is exquisitely tame because of the way the garlic is handled. In Provence, as in Spain, a poached egg is served in the soup. In this version, diced potatoes and saffron are cooked in the soup for the last 20 minutes; the soup is served with French bread and grated cheese.
Servings: 6 to 8
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves but not peeled
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups diced, peeled potatoes
- Pinch saffron
- 18 to 24 rounds of hard-toasted French bread
- 1 cup grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
Blanch the garlic cloves in boiling water for about a minute. Drain, run cold water over them to cool, and then peel. Put the peeled garlic in a saucepan with the salt, pepper, cloves, sage, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, olive oil and 2 quarts of water. Boil slowly for 30 to 35 minutes. Add more seasoning if desired, then strain and return to the saucepan. Add the potatoes and saffron and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Check the seasoning again. Serve with 3 slices of French bread in the bottom of each bowl, sprinkled with the cheese.
From "Cold Spaghetti at Midnight," by Maggie Waldron (William Morrow and Co., 1992).
Tested by The Washington Post.
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