This is a more refined version of the well-known soup Aigo Boulido recipe from the South of France. The Provençal name means “garlic boiled in water”. A house remedy for convalescents, including those with a hangover.
The delicate soup is comforting, the fragrance of the garlic inviting. The garlic mellows in taste after it has been roasted, losing its raw sharpness completely. The added touch of toasted bread decked with shrimps converts this humble dish into a memorable one.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 90 minutes
- 4 large garlic heads, preferably purple garlic, skin left on
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp of flour
- 4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
- 1 twig of fresh thyme or flat-leaf parsley
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 slices of French bread
- 8-16 shrimps, depending on the size
Preheat oven 360°F/180°C.
To roast the garlic, remove the papery outer layer of the garlic bulb, not the papery skins and keep the cloves attached. Cut garlic heads in the horizontal into 2 halves, one top, and one bottom.
Oil an ovenproof baking dish with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and place the garlic halves cut side down in the dish and roast it for about 1 hour or until garlic is soft and nicely browned. You should be able to remove the garlic skin easily by pressing out a bit to lose the cloves. If they do not come out on their own, use a little knife to “liberate” them. Set them aside in a large saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the baking dish in which you roasted the garlic previously and “mop it” off. The olive oil left in the baking dish is rich in garlic flavor and should not be wasted. Add olive oil-flour mix to the roasted garlic in the saucepan.
Mash garlic and flour with the back of a wooden spoon so it becomes a smooth paste. Sauté it a few minutes further, about 3-4 minutes stirring constantly to remove the floury taste of the paste.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add little by little to the garlic mix while stirring to avoid lumps. When it comes to a boil reduce heat to low and add the thyme twig or Italian parsley. Simmer the soup for about 30 minutes. Remove the thyme or parsley twig. If you prefer a creamier soup run it through the blender and add a little more stock or water to thin it up. Add the shrimp and cook them until they turn pink about 3-4 minutes.
Toast the French bread. To serve, ladle the soup into 4 soup plates, top it with toast bread decked with 2-4 shrimps, depending on their size.