Baked new season’s garlic soup with egg

This soup was definitely not on any old Soho menus, as twenty-five years ago British people wouldn’t even consider a garlic soup as edible. I know, because having eaten this soup on many occasions in Spain, it seemed a natural for my menus then. Not one portion sold, which was a pity because Soho was the only place where you could get new season’s garlic in the early summer.

Ingredients

  • 6 heads new season’s garlic
  • 1 baguette, cut into cubes (other good white bread will do)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • approx. 1.5 litre stock (chicken, beef, vegetable are all fine) or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 medium eggs

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Split the heads of garlic open and separate into cloves. Do not peel them but remove the papery outer husks. Lay the garlic cloves and bread into a deep ovenproof dish or casserole, drizzle with olive oil and season generously. Place in the oven and bake until the bread cubes are golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. During this time heat the stock with the bay leaf to a simmer.

When the garlic and bread are ready, pour over enough stock to just cover the solids. Drizzle with some more oil, cover with foil, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3, and cook for a further 50 minutes. When done, remove carefully from the oven and allow to cool for half an hour. Remove the bay leaf and purée everything in a food processor, then pass through a coarse sieve.

Finishing and Serving

Preheat the oven to its maximum. In a pan gently reheat the soup to tasting temperature (ie not boiling or lukewarm). Check the seasoning and ladle into six individual ovenproof bowls. Crack an egg in the centre of each bowl. Drizzle with more oil and bake for 5 minutes. Serve, warning your guests about the soup being extremely hot.

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