Garlic soup has a long and splendid tradition in Italy. There are countless versions from all areas of the country. There are Croatian, Spanish and Greek versions that I know of too. So there is plenty of room to squeeze my interpretation into the mix.
- 1 pound onions, roughly chopped
- 1 cup garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (4 inch) piece of parmgiano-reggiano rind only
- 4 left over garlic bread cut into 1‑inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon mixed herbs (parsley, thyme, etc)
- 8 steamed clams per person (optional)
- 5 stems of thyme, leaves removed stems discarded
- 1 quart chicken stock
SautÃ© the onions and garlic in the butter and olive oil in a medium sized saucepan set over low to medium heat. Add a pinch or two of salt and a bit of white pepper. Do not let mixture fry. Small gentle bubbles should form around the edge of the pan and are a good sign that the heat is just right. They will become a deep golden caramel color in about 30 minutes. Stir and watch frequently as they cook.
Add the chicken stock, cheese rind, chopped herbs and the garlic bread.
Simmer another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. Taste for seasoning. It may need a bit more salt. If it does let add a pinch and let it cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove what is left of the cheese rind and discard it.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender.
You may make the soup a day ahead as it is often better on the second day. Serve this with steamed clams (optional) on the side and a hefty sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and some chopped thyme leaves.