A few days ago, I came across an article in the New York Times Dining section featuring Yotam Ottolenghi. A light went off in my head. D'oh! I had forgotten to post his recipe I made last week.
Garlic soup with harissa. Yum. Yum. Yum. This recipe uses 25 medium cloves of garlic, but don't be scared. You can still snuggle up to that special someone (without embarassment) or have a close face-to-face conversation. Well, maybe after a palette cleanser like sorbet. In general, when garlic is cooked like this, the subtle sweet flavor remains while the harsher 'garliciness' evaporates substantially.
Harissa, a Tunisian hot chili sauce, is made from peppers and spices such as such as garlic paste, coriander, red chili powder, coriander and caraway. It's very popular in Algeria and, according to my research, is making inroads in Egypt and throughout the Gulf States. Harissa is also the perfect condiment to this soup.
Since I've been cooking up a storm recently, I decided to buy a pre-made harissa. I know this is a shortcut, but I'm lucky to live near a provisions shop that carries harissa by the gallon...and it tastes great. For those of you who don't have harissa-access, I've included the recipe below.
The soup is pretty light and it's not thick at all. It's somewhere between a broth and puree. I served it in a shallow bowl, with a swirl of harissa and a nice dollop of Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
3 tbsp butter2 tbsp olive oil
4 medium shallots, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, finely diced
25 garlic cloves (medium size), finely sliced
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 cup white wine
1 generous pinch saffron strands
4 bay leaves
1 litre good-quality liquid vegetable stock (not cubes)
4 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
Greek yogurt (optional)
Gently fry shallots and celery until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for five minutes more. Stir in ginger and thyme, add salt, pour in the wine and leave to bubble for a few minutes. Add the saffron, bay leaves and stock, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, add the parsley and blitz with a hand-held liquidiser (immersion blender). Do not over-process - keep some texture.