From French Onion to Spanish Garlic, this is definitely the weather for soup. Too often though, soup gets a dull or virtuous name for itself. My eyes tend to not even see it on started menus and it’s always the thing that people swear by when trying to lose weight, making it not only unappetising but this also gives it really strong associations with January, a notoriously grim time of year.
This soup is like the opposite of all that, although with an obscene amount of garlic I think it can still be counted as very healthy. It is so flavoursome and has a lot of the flavours of Spain but still is so rewarding on cold rainy days. Parsley is meant to fight garlic-breath which must have been an incentive for the Spaniard responsible for this soup, as there is also a heaping pile of it too. Though I will neither confirm or deny that it works, it still brings all its vitamin C, another winter essential.
Since I first made this soup I heard that the ham and cayenne are not traditionally in this soup but I liked it so much, why change it? In spite of what they say, whoever they are, less is actually very rarely more.
- 300 g ciabatta
- 150 ml olive oil
- 100 g garlic
- 80 g flat leaf parsley
- 300 g ham
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp pimenton
- 2 L chicken stock
- 1 egg per serving
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 pinch of cayenne
- Tear up the ciabatta, drizzle with 50 ml olive oil and roast in a cool oven until crunchy and lightly golden.
- Finely slice the garlic and set aside.
- Roughly chop the parsley and set aside.
- Roughly slice the ham and set aside.
- Add the rest of the oil and the garlic to a pan and gently fry until very lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
- Add the ham and allow to warm through, about 1 minute.
- Add the smoked paprika, pimenton and cayenne and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the parsley and the now toasted ciabatta croutons and toss so they're coated in the oil.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil. Then remove from the heat to poach the eggs.
- Add the vinegar to a small pot of simmering water and stir to form a whirlpool,
- Quickly crack the egg into the whirlpool and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, until the white is firm and the yolk is still wobbly. It is easier to crack the egg first into a cup or ramekin and then into the whirlpool.
- Plate up, adding a poached egg into the center of each bowl, spooning over a little of the garlic oil and an extra pinch of cayenne.