I would be ever so grateful if this supposed cure-all soup from the Côte d’Azur could cure all that ails me.
For instance, last week I lightly sprained my ankle while jogging. That alone wouldn’t have been so bad had I not later badly burned my hand in an embarrassing, exceptionally brainless stove incident which also left very expensive pieces of sea bass all over the kitchen floor — in full view of my company. (In case anyone is wondering, the ‘three-second rule’ doesn’t come into play when your entree has shattered into dozens of tiny shards.)
How nice it would have been at that moment to whip up a batch of “cure-all soup” to alleviate my twin pains of embarrassment and second-degree burns that night.
I’ve also been a bit tightly-wound these last several weeks contemplating what to do when the water heater in the garage leaves the building. It has already outlived all actuarial estimates, and I worry, things happening as they do, that it will finally give up the ghost on or about April 15th. (Another inevitability filling me with angst.)
I would have had a lot more faith in this soup’s ability to cure-all had Dorie Greenspan listed Xanax or Vicodin in the ingredients. Sadly, while the cure-all soup is brimming with contents said to bring about healing such as garlic, sage, and even egg yolks, pharmaceuticals are nowhere to be found. (Although it does give me an idea for a future band sponsorship.)
A lengthy trip to the Côte d’Azur could very well mollify these challenges brought on by the circumstances of my daily life. Alas, no such luck. See above, “Tax Day.”) So it was all up to this peculiar soup with the lofty, aspirational title to turn things around this week.
So despite my skepticism I eagerly set out and make it. It has been a very long time since I’ve had the time create a French Friday’s with Dorie recipe along with the rest of the group. I was very grateful for the hole in my schedule allowing me to participate this week and grateful the recipe would be an easy one to make featuring some of my favorite ingredients, lack of Xanax notwithstanding. Additionally, I was grateful to find I had all said ingredients on hand so no extra shopping would be required, especially after breaking the bank earlier on some ill-fated sea bass.
I was grateful that this dish came together easily, beautifully and tasted so fantastic. As I held a cup of it (in my good hand) and sipped it down I imagined how its rich, but not pungent, garlic and sage flavors could probably alleviate any residual discomfort one might suffer on the Côte d’Azur, if discomfort on the Côte d’Azur is even possible.
I considered how excited I felt to share this odd soup with you and felt grateful I had this forum with which to do so. And right this moment, as I finish this post I feel so grateful that it is over! I am now so very aware that I do indeed feel much better! My ankle was not broken, there was enough sea bass for my husband to share his with me, I had a hot shower this morning and I still have two weeks left to figure out something for tax day.
I guess the only real cure-all I know is gratitude.
Côte d’Azu Cure-All Soup
Many of my fellow bloggers may already know my friend George Menzelos. He is the impresario behind Arianna Trading Company and its fine organic food products from Greece. When George is not in Greece himself, he is most likely found meandering this continent extolling the virtues of using only the best quality olive oils. Like me, you might think you already know a good deal about good olive oil already. But sit across the tasting table from George for an hour tasting the many fine oils he usually has with him and you are certain to leave with an entirely new appreciation.
George makes the point that the oil’s various flavors (bitter, pungent, grassy, peppery, etc.) don’t simply compliment food’s inherent flavors but elevate them to new levels. (Much the same way a good wine will.) This is why you see ‘olive oil cultures’ using these quality oils more as a condiment added to food and not just as an ingredient. Furthermore, George is puzzled by the idea that US consumers think nothing of spending $50 or more on a bottle of wine and then balk at the few extra dollars it takes to own a fine olive oil. A bottle fine oil will enhance dinners for weeks and weeks while the bottle of wine is usually gone by night’s end. He makes sense, right?
After his proselytizing and experiencing first hand the effects his fine oils have had on my enjoyment of food under his tutelage I know I won’t skimp again.
And so I opted to break out a bottle of George’s finest organic, unfiltered extra virgin olive oils and drizzle it over this Côte d’Azur Cure-All Soup. Not only does it uptick the flavors (very nicely!) but these fine Olive Oils are something of a cure-all themselves! Extra virgin olive oil is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats and polyphenols. When not filtered out or diluted (as in lesser quality oils) these doohickeys assist in the prevention of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
What’s more, good olive oils are abundant in Vitamin E, an essential metabolic influencer and antioxidant. Of course, these claims can only be made for oils containing sufficient amounts of the good stuff. One more reason to seek out an authentic, organic and unfiltered brand if you’re looking for a cure-all soup. While you drizzle it all over your food to make it taste great, you just might be curing something that ails you.
This is what you will need:
- 1 very large head of garlic
- handful of sage leaves
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 large sprigs of thyme
- 4 cups water & 2 cups chicken stock (or 6 cups water)
- 1 teaspoon salt and more to taste
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- ground pepper to taste
This is how you make it:
- Separate and peel the garlics and slice them real thing using a knife or a small mandoline. If you use a mandoline be real careful. Don't ask me why I know this. Toss the garlic in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. (You will want a pot large not just large enough to hold the contents but to allow you easy whisking during the last step.)
- Tie up the herbs with kitchen twine or into a piece of cheesecloth as a bouquet garni and toss into the pot with the garlic. Pour in the water and the broth with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil and then down to a simmer for 30 minutes. Do not rush this step as a slow simmer will release not just the flavors of the herbs and garlic but also their secret cure-all soup powers.
- Remove the herbs and check for taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. You can puree the soup at this point although I'm not sure why you would want to.
- Bring the soup back to a low boil, then back to a simmer.
- In another large bowl whisk the three egg yolks, add one ladleful of soup to the yolks and whisk some more. Add the Parmesan to the egg mixture and whisk some more and then add the egg/cheese mixture back to the broth and whisk until smooth.
- (At this point if you want a thicker soup you can add even more egg yolks but I didn't find this necessary.)
- Cadel the soup into mugs or bowls and serve immediately.
- There, you're cured!
[Personal Note: I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by First Site Guide for their feature series aimed at helping out those foolish enough to consider starting their very own food blog. I do hope that first-timers will set their sites a bit higher than this here blog thingie but not and you have some spare time, do check my interview .
While I’m on the topic of helping food bloggers, I would also inform that my very good friend Kita Roberts is now hosting a weekly podcast entitled “Season with Sass.” Each week she and her podcasting partner interview top food bloggers (these girls know everybody) and coax them all into revealing various tech tips and behind the scenes stories they collected on their road to success. Sometimes they coax them into revealing quite a few other things as well so you can bet it is a very entertaining podcast! Check out and subscribe to their podcast here or in iTunes here . ]