I ate a whole ear of roasted garlic last night, like it was a candy bar. I made Michael do it too .... to even things out.
We were up in Maine this past weekend which is one of my favorite places in the whole world. When it comes to food, Maine knows what's up. The kind of organic farm to table eating that is more "trendy" in the nyc area is pretty much standard there. It seems like every restaurant has it's very own farm where it sources all of it's ingredients. Of course, that is much easier to do when you have all that land in your backyard. Up there, there is such a profound respect for their land, the food that grows on the land, and all of their other natural resources like the water (hellooo, poland springs!) ... you can feel it everywhere you go. Some seriously good, clean healthy living going on there.
I would live in Maine if it wasn't for one glaring flaw ..... those winters. As we were leaving my aunt + uncle's yesterday, we saw our first few snow flurries of the winter (wait, no, first flurries of fall .... it's still very much fall). The first snowfall is always the best, but when that first snowfall is witnessed in one of the first days of November .... well, that's a little too intense for me. The snow fell nicely in the morning but quickly picked up and began to accumulate on the roads making a slushy mess, which made our ride home slow (oh, and my many bathroom + tea + snack breaks mayyy have contributed to that as well). By the time we reached the ferry to cross long island sound, we had already been in the car a solid 8 hours. I could not wait to reach long island, and a restaurant with delicious, warm, non-trail mix food ... and I am sure that Michael had heard enough of my singing along to every.single.song on Sirius and updates from social media. We got to the restaurant and ordered an entree to share .... and I also got a side of roasted garlic, because, when there is a side of roasted garlic on a menu - it needs to be ordered. We devoured that garlic.
Since garlic will likely never be accepted as a main dish, I am happy to settle for it as a side dish or a garnish or a flavor booster in most of my meals. In the case of this soup, the garlic is a garnish but the garlic is also a very important component. Without these crispy garlic chips, this is just another green broccoli soup. With these crisps .... this soup becomes that much fancier, tastier, and special. They are not hard to make, and in fact, I would recommend making a big batch and keeping them around so you can sprinkle this magical garlic dust onto anything and everything your heart desires.
The making of this soup is more deconstructed compared to most traditional soup making. Ingredients are blanched, sautéed, and then blended together to make one silky smooth (dairy-free) puree. This soup is easy to throw together, and making it this way keeps much of the intensity of flavor in-tact. As with any soup, I love to have lots of textures going on. The garlic chips are the obvious, but I would also give it a little extra love with some arugula leaves, a healthy drizzle of really good olive oil, and several cracks of fresh black pepper.
broccoli + arugula soup with garlic chips
SERVES about 4
4 cups of broccoli, roughly chopped (including the stems - peeled and chopped)
1 cup of arugula, packed (a few leaves extra for garnish)
1/3 cup of shallots or onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt + pepper
for the garlic chips:
10-12 cloves of very fresh garlic, sliced thin with a mandolin
4 tablespoons of grapeseed or peanut oil
Start by making the garlic chips:
- Set up your area by placing a small saucepan with the grapeseed oil on the burner (but do not turn it on yet), and have a paper towel lined baking sheet nearby. Also have a small fine mesh strainer or slotted spoon nearby.
- Place the garlic in a medium saucepan with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil, then remove it from the heat and scoop out the garlic using the slotted spoon and rest it on the baking tray (keep the water in the pot, you will use it to blanch the vegetables).
- Heat up the saucepan with the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat, and when the oil is hot enough (it will start to look wavy) then add the garlic. Add the garlic and give it a shake to make sure they don't stick together. Cook the garlic until it just starts to brown, then remove it from the oil using the slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel lined baking sheet. Set aside until you're ready to serve the soup.
Then, prepare the soup:
- Set up your area to blanch the veggies. Using the same saucepan and water that you used to blanch the garlic, add some more water so it is 3/4 of the way to the top and season with salt. Bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for it to boil, prepare a large bowl of water with ice (which you will use after you blanch the veggies).
- First, blanch the arugula for about 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and place it in the ice water.
- Then, using the same pot and boiling water, add the broccoli and blanch for about 3-4 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. Remove the broccoli and place it into the ice water bath, and reserve the boiling water (you will use 2 cups of this for the soup). Strain the broccoli and arugula from the ice water.
- Then, in a small pan, heat the grapeseed oil and sautee the onions and garlic on medium low heat. You want them to be very soft but be careful not to brown them.
- In a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, add the sautéed onions and garlic, the arugula and the broccoli. Then, add in two tablespoons of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and about two cups of the warm blanching water. Blend on high until you have a very smooth puree. Taste and adjust any seasoning accordingly.
Assemble the soup, etc:
- Ladle the soup into small serving bowls, and finish with a sprinkle of garlic chips, a couple of arugula leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil and some pepper.
- This soup will be luke warm, but if you would like it to be hot, you can either do this by using your Vitamix (refer to the Vitamix's soup heat instructions) or you can transfer the soup back to a medium or large saucepan and heat over very low heat and then serve.
- This soup and the garlic chips will keep for several days in the fridge. If you have extra garlic chips you can use them for so many things such as over a salad or other warm dishes.