Monday, October 26, 2009

Roasted Elephant Garlic Soup with Grilled Eggplant Recipe

Roasted Elephant Garlic Soup with Grilled Eggplant Recipe

Makes: 6 servings
By Stu Stein

Elephant garlic is actually closely related to the leek and thought by some to be its wild ancestor. The bulbs are very large and can weigh more than a pound. They have a flavor that is milder than that of regular garlic and develop a rich sweetness when roasted.

For the soup:
4 heads elephant garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
4 leeks (white part only), coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
8 cups (2 quarts) low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
For the basil purée:
1 cup basil leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
(Makes approximately 1/2 cup)
To serve:
1 Japanese eggplant, thinly sliced and grilled
Method of Preparation
For the soup:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cut off the top 1/4 inch of each garlic head. Place garlic heads in a small, shallow baking dish and drizzle oil over them. Bake until golden, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.
Press individual garlic cloves between your thumb and finger to release them. In a large saucepan place the garlic, leeks, onion, potato, and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the wine is reduced by half its volume. Add the stock or water, and salt and pepper, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender until smooth. If the soup is too thick, thin by adding stock or water. Taste and adjust seasonings.

For the basil purée:
Blanch the basil leaves by placing them in boiling salted water for 15 to 20 seconds and then immediately plunging them into an ice-water bath. Remove leaves from the ice water and pat dry.
Place basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor. Add salt. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil until a smooth purée is formed. You may have to scrape the sides of the bowl several times in order to purée all of the leaves.

To serve:
Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Place grilled eggplant in the center of each bowl and top with basil purée.

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