It’s our final CSA week for 2010. Oh we will miss the weekly box. At our house we just don’t dine as well when the veggie bin lacks abundance–without the need to be aggressive about using things up. A Ranui greens salad every night–ah summer. Let’s be gluttons with the garlic and make this variation on the traditional Spanish Sopa de Ajo. I’ve been hoarding some thyme and parsley from the last couple of weeks, maybe you all have too. You can place a poached egg on top of the croutons and cheese in the bowl for a more substantial meal.
2 heads garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
8 cups vegetable stock
1 to 2 teaspoons Real Salt, depending on how salty your stock is
Pinch saffron, optional
Freshly ground pepper
2 whole cloves
2 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 or 5 baby leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried orzo or other small pasta
2 cups Garlic Croutons
1/2 cup grated queso fresco or mozzarella cheese
Add the garlic to the veggie stock along with the salt, saffron, if using, some pepper, the cloves, thyme, parsley and oil. Bring to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer for about one hour. Strain and discard the garlic, clove and herbs.
While the garlic is simmering, sauté the leeks in the butter until soft and just golden.
Stir the orzo into the broth along with the sautéed leeks. Simmer until the orzo is just cooked.
To serve, put some croutons in the bottom of a soup bowl and sprinkle with the cheese. Ladle the soup over this and the optional poached egg.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the olive oil and garlic in a bowl, add the diced bread, and toss until well coated. Transfer to a baking sheet pan and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Return the croutons to the bowl, sprinkle with the paprika, and toss well.