Last October I visited France in order to do some research for my upcoming novel, the last book in The Gift Saga. Although my stories are primarily set on Long Island, New York and various locations in Greece, this third book travels to Paris and Champagne as well.
My time in Épernay was an experience I will never forget. I was able to visit and learn about the creation of champagne in the traditional méthode champenoiseat a generations-old family vineyard. I also walked the length of L’Avenue de Champagne, where many of the most famous Champagne houses are situated. Each one was breathtaking in its grandness and unique in atmosphere.
Soupe à L’ail is an easy to prepare traditional French dish. With the other two books in the saga, only Greek recipes were included, ones that had been handed down to me by my mother and grandmother. This time, along with the ones from my own heritage, I’ve added a couple of French ones.
News of the release of Book 3 will be announced soon, but you can count on it to be available for your summer reading. In the meantime, here is one of the recipes tucked between the chapters.
Soupe à L’ail
2 Heads Garlic
2 Quarts chicken broth
1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence wrapped and tied in cheesecloth
1 Teaspoon salt
2 Medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons cornstarch & ¼ cup of water
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Eggs yolks
2 Tablespoons butter
Thin slices of baguette, toasted
Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded
Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Break up the garlic into individual cloves, leaving the skin on. Add the cloves to the boiling broth and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the diced potatoes. After five minutes, remove the cloves, which should be floating at the surface, from the pot. Let the broth continue to simmer.
Remove the garlic from the peels and mash before adding them back into the broth. With a handheld Immersion blender whisk until the solids are pureed.
Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the soup, blending thoroughly.
In a separate bowl whisk the olive oil and egg yolks together. Slowly ladle approximately a ½ cup of the soup into the egg mixture to temper it. Add the egg mixture to the soup and stir. Melt in the butter to finish and add a silky texture.
Garnish with cheese topped toasts.