Basque Garlic Soup
Basque Garlic Soup, or sopa de ajo, is a balm for a cold day. It’s a piping hot bowl of garlicky, smoky broth, filled with tendrils of eggs and thickened with bread, heightened with a splash of sherry vinegar. This version, from writer and cookbook author Marti Buckley, calls for bread that’s very well-toasted—almost burnt—in olive oil to add body and roasted depth. The piquant broth is infused with an entire head of garlic. Best of all, it comes together in under an hour and tastes even better the day after it’s made.Some recipes call for poached eggs to gently float in each bowl of soup, but scrambling infuses each bite with flavor and adds a beautiful texture to the broth. Stirring the beaten egg into the hot soup spreads those delicate wisps of egg throughout the and thickens it up, giving just enough bite. Paired with the smoky paprika, the soup almost tastes meaty.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 of soup. 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. Traditional Basque garlic soup uses a bread called zopako ogia which has a broad, dry crust, and very little crumb, making it perfect for thickening soup. Baguette works well in its place, and thoroughly toasting it, alongside the pungent, smoky depth of paprika, gives this soup a deeper flavor than its quick cooking time would suggest. —Kelsey YoungmanExcerpted from Basque Country by Marti Buckley (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018.