Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

[Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger]

Why is garlic soup so satisfying? It's one of the simplest soups to make, and yet it comes out soothing and utterly calming. Some people have chicken soup; I prefer this stuff. Which isn't to say all are created equal.

I adore this version from Daisy Martinez, which I wrote about over three years ago, and saw no need to try out something different. But a few things really intrigued me about this recipe from Mario Batali's Spain: A Culinary Road Trip.

First was the use of bread. Often in a garlic soup, the bread is only introduced to the soup after it's finished cooking. But here the bread is sautéed in the beginning, then added to the soup with the stock. It breaks down over the course of the cooking process to create a silky, luscious body. Second is the hot pimentón. This Spanish smoked paprika adds a depth and robustness to the soup, which is totally at odds with how much time is actually spent on it.

The final flourish is a poached egg, which almost makes the soup too rich. Not bad for a bunch of pantry items.

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