Soupe à l’Oeuf Provençale
The first time you have this you will be amazed at the sweet and subtle flavour. If you didn’t know there was garlic in it you would never know. The poached egg gives it a creaminess that is unreal. Traditionally it is served with a “croute” and grated cheese. We omit that for a lighter version when serving as a soup course.
1 separated head of garlic, unpeeled (about 16 cloves)
2 quarts water
2 teaspoon/10ml sea salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon/1ml sage
1/4 teaspoon/1ml thyme
1/2 bay leaf
4 parsley sprigs
1 tablespoon/15ml olive oil
6 eggs, room temperature
6 hard toasted rounds of French bread (croutes)* Optional
Drop garlic cloves in boiling water and boil 30 seconds. Drain, run cold water over them, and peel.
Place the garlic and the rest of the ingredients in the saucepan and boil slowly for 30 minutes. Correct seasoning.
After the soup has been simmered for half an hour, strain it into a wide, shallow saucepan.Bring it back to a simmer. Crack the room temperature egg into a custard cup. Pour into the simmering broth. Poach the eggs in the soup, just until the white has set 3-4 minutes. Carefully remove the eggs to a clean kitchen cloth or paper towel to drain.
*Place a round of bread in each soup plate and top with a poached egg. Pour in the soup and decorate with parsley and sprinkle with cheese. Serve more cheese at the table.**we have found that if you are doing a large dinner party it is easier to place the eggs in an ovenproof soup dish, ladle the hot soup over the eggs and place in a pre-heated 375F/190C/Gas 5 oven for 5-6 minutes. It saves the step of poaching drying and then plating them.