Sopa de Ajo
Sopa de ajo was probably the inspiration for the original gazpacho. Traditionally, it was a mixture of chopped garlic, crumbled stale bread, olive oil, and water, the pantry staples of the poor. But it has evolved to have many regional variations. In Màlaga, cooks might use fish stock, and in Galicia, rye bread is used.
The addition of paprika earmarks this recipe as the Madrid version. Sometimes the eggs are beaten and then whisked into the soup. In every case, however, the garlicky creation is believed to be a surefire cure for hangovers.
6 tablespoons (3fl oz/90 ml) olive oil
12 cloves garlic
12 thin slices coarse country bread, crusts removed
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
6 cups (48fl oz/l.5 l) chicken stock or water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C.).
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic cloves and sauté until golden and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the garlic. Working in batches, add the bread to the garlic-flavored oil and sauté, turning as needed, until pale gold and crisp, 4-5 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the bread to 6 ovenproof individual bowls or cazuelas, placing 2 slices in each bowl. Put the bowls on a baking sheet. Add the paprika to the pan over medium heat, stir once, and then add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Break 1 egg into each bowl and ladle the boiling stock or water over the eggs, dividing it evenly. Slip the baking sheet into the oven and bake until the egg whites have set up but the yolks are still runny, about 10 minutes.
Garnish each bowl with parsley and serve at once.
Savoring Spain & Portugal
By Joyce Goldstein
Time Life Books, 2000
Color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2001
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