Sopa de Ajo (Basque Garlic Soup)


Sopa de ajo is a balm for a cold day enjoyed throughout Spain. The piping hot bowl of garlicky, smoky broth is filled with tendrils of eggs, thickened with bread, and heightened with a splash of sherry vinegar. In the Basque region, this soup traditionally uses a bread called zopako ogia that has a broad, dry crust, and very little crumb, making it perfect for thickening soup. This soup, from writer and cookbook author Marti Buckley, calls for a baguette that's very well-toasted — almost burnt — in olive oil to add body and roasted depth. The piquant broth is also infused with an entire head of garlic and thickened with egg. Some recipes call for a poached egg to float in each bowl of soup, but beating the egg and stirring it into the hot soup infuses each bite with flavor and the delicate wisps of egg add a beautiful texture to the broth. With a short ingredient list, this seemingly simple soup is truly elevated by each addition. Use your favorite sherry vinegar for a clear, acidic note that isn't ever harsh or bitter. A fruity, grassy olive oil will carry flavors of garlic into each spoonful. The quality of the paprika and bread make all the difference in this dish, so open a fresh canister of true Pimentón de la Vera, and use the best baguette you can find. Best of all, this soup comes together in under an hour and tastes even better the day after it's made. Recipe used with permission from Basque Country by Marti Buckley (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 4 ounces high-quality baguette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided

  • 1 garlic head (about 12 cloves), peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 heaping tablespoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

  • 8 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • 3 large eggs, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place baguette on a baking sheet, and toast in preheated oven until very browned and almost burnt, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool. Break or slice bread into 2-inch pieces.

  2. Heat 7 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add bread pieces, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning often to allow bread to toast and soak up oil, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove bread, and set aside. Wipe pot clean.

  3. Add garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot. Cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in paprika. Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.

  4. Add bread to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and maintain a simmer. Add vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up bread, until flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

  5. When ready to serve, bring soup to a simmer over medium-high. Stirring constantly, slowly pour beaten eggs into hot soup. If any large pieces of bread remain, cut with kitchen scissors, or break apart with a spoon. Serve hot.

    Basque Garlic Soup
    Greg DuPree


Soup can be prepared through step 4 up to 2 days in advance. Bring to a simmer, and add beaten eggs just before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Lightly sparkling, appley Txakoli.

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