I've only had a bit of experience with David Tanis's new cookbook A Platter of Figs—a few recipes are available here on Serious Eats and from excerpts on Amazon.com—but from what I've read, it's really a gem. I was particularly struck by how many of the recipes offer variations, depending on what's available. Not only does it encourage experimentation in the kitchen by suggesting new possibilities, it also respects the seasons, one of the book's central conceits. If a vegetable is not at its peak, why use it? Better to explore a variation.
His fried egg soup is originally a soup of Asian flavors with garlic, ginger, scallions, and bok choy leaves. But he also offers this Provençal version, which replaces the ginger with some sage leaves (which I had languishing in the fridge), uses spinach instead of bok choy, and floats the eggs on toasted bread. It was simple and comforting, a garlicky chicken broth enriched with the runny yolk and woodsy sage leaves.
- 4 eggs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 bunches green garlic shoots or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Small handful sage leaves
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced or baby spinach
- 4 slices baguette or other sturdy, European-style loaf
Bring the stock to a simmer in a soup pot, then add the garlic and sage. Simmer for about five minutes, then check for seasoning. Salt and pepper as needed.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a skillet and fry the eggs gently until the white is set but the yolk is still a bit runny. Season generously with salt and pepper. The eggs can be fried ahead of serving.
Add the spinach to the broth and simmer for an additional minute. Ladle into shallow bowls, float the baguette pieces, and top each with a fried egg.