Years ago, I wrote an essay for my college nutrition class on the healthy properties of garlic. I remember it well because it was one of my first college papers, a topic I enjoyed researching, and sadly the teacher gave me an F on it because she didn't think it wasn't "scientific enough". She did give me the opportunity to rewrite for a better grade, but I was in the middle of a divorce and finals at that point and I had just gotten a lay off notice at work (an especially bad week!) and I could not be bothered. I took a "C" in the class and moved on.
Like many of my college papers it was misplaced over the years, but a few points of garlic interest come to mind:
- Garlic is an antioxident, antiseptic and antiinflammatory.
- An immigrant friend of mine said that mother's in her very poor Mexican neighborhood used to serve their children garlic by adding it to milk because it would stave off infection and illness.
- An old superstition says that if you want to deter an unwelcome suitor you simply sprinkle crushed garlic at an intersection and lure the unsuspecting to cross over it.
This is another soup from the Williams Sonoma Best of Taste cook book.The book suggests that it is more appropriate to serve this soup as a starter, than as a full meal. I would agree with that.
Honestly, it didn't exactly knock our socks off, but it was a new recipe and its ingredients: olive oil, almonds, garlic and baguette, did make it sound tempting and - undeniably- very healthy.
The soup contains just 4 cloves of garlic, and that is the prominent flavor you experience. I served the soup with a spinach salad, some extra baguette and chorizo sausages (not shown). Simon went back for seconds -which could have just meant that he was hungry- but definately, it is an indication that the soup is palatable.
I am hearing several of my facebook friends and family complain this week that colds are hitting their homes as the weather is changing and fall is in the air. This soup may be just the ticket for keeping the bugs at bay.
WILLIAMS SONOMA: SPANISH GARLIC SOUP
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 cup blanched almonds, whole or slivered
4 garlic cloves, chopped with a pinch of kosher salt
4 egg yolks at room temperature
3/4 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 stale baguette, torn into chunks
In a saucepan, combine stock, bay leaf, marjoram, salt and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain and let cool slightly.
In a food processor, pulverize almonds. Add garlic and puree. Add egg yolks and process to blend. With themachine running, slowly add oil to emulsify. Stir in vinegar.
Add 1/2 cup stock to the almond mixture in the food processor and process to blend. Pour the almond mixture back into the stock. Portion soup into bowls, garnish with bread and drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil.