Serious Eats: Recipes
Dinner Tonight: Lime Soup (Sopa de Lima)
The first meal in my new place after two weeks of crashing on couches should have been an excuse to go all out and do my gastronomic worst. But I was so tired after the moving process that all I wanted was something simple and comforting that could calm me down after the long, drawn out moving process. And nothing conjures up that feeling more than lime soup. It was about a year ago that I sampled my first bowl on the tiny island of Isla Mujeres in Mexico. Rather like a tortilla soup, it was topped with a sprinkling of cheese and crumbled tortilla chips. But instead of chilies, it was awash in lime and garlic. It was vibrant and soothing, something that didn't knock you over on the first spoonful, but just slowly crept into your soul like really good chicken soup. I loved it so much; I asked the owner for the recipe. He refused. "Come back again and I might think about it." We returned three times to try and coax him out of that recipe, but somehow I still left that island empty handed.
To recreate it, I decided to start with this recipe from the New York Times. What really impressed me was the use of cinnamon, clove, and oregano which infuse with the stock for ten minutes and are then discarded. The spices may be tossed, but they haunt the final dish, adding sweet and savory notes to this very quick meal. The absolute hardest part of the process is frying the tortillas to create the chips, requiring a bit of oil and some patience. This can obviously be avoided by buying tortilla chips, but I always find the store bought kind turn to mush a little too quickly.
I know lime soup doesn't sound like much, but it is oddly appealing to me. Though not quite the same bowl I fell in love with a year ago, it was still all I needed to relax.