Smoked Garlic Arugula (Rocket) Soup
A Happy and HEALTHY New Year to you! Who would have thought I’d be kicking off a late return to le blog with Smoked Garlic and Arugula Soup?
Instead of waltzing to the Vienna Philharmonic, I literally FLEW into the New Year with the latest trend: flu.
Just before landing, as I squinted down at the snow-covered French fields after leaving a mild Scotland, I realised my window-seat neighbour had been discreetly running a raging fever as we rubbed elbows and shared the same breathing particles on that flight back to Paris. At least Mickey could avoid it, as he wears a whopping great mask.
It has taken a good two weeks to feel back on my feet and “normal” (or mad, whatever you think). So, on finally returning to the kitchen, I concocted this deliciously healthy garlic soup as a real detox boost to recuperate – without even stinking everyone out with garlic.
If you’re like me and find that garlic sticks around you for a while, you’ll love SMOKED GARLIC, as it is much milder but strong on smoke. I can’t believe it took me so long living in France before I discovered this French speciality! When I saw it mentioned with a soup recipe in the December Newsletter by my friends at La Cuisine Paris Cookery School, I immediately asked my organic Vegetable guru at our local market in Saint-Germain-en-Laye to get some from the smoked garlic French capital of Arleux in Northern France.
Ever since, my vegetable man now regularly has smoked garlic in stock (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Rather than use a lot of potato and smoked garlic which are traditionally used in abundance for French smoked garlic soup, I was inspired by a Scottish rocket (arugula) soup which I often serve with kiln-smoked salmon for dinner parties – although it was laden with cream.
This time I completely omitted the cream, adding only a little potato just to thicken it slightly, some leek to cleanse the body (see my notes in this leek and pumpkin soup) and added smoked garlic rather than the expensive salmon to give it that special oh-la-la smoky touch. The best potato variety to use for making soups is a floury potato such as Bintje. Use a good quality chicken stock – or vegetable stock, if you prefer to keep the recipe Vegetarian.