Monday, March 9, 2009

The Beauty of Fried Egg Soup

David Tanis’s new cookbook, A Platter of Figs, has been called “a gem”, “inspired” and “one of best cookbooks of the year”. I agree, and although I have only cooked a couple dishes from it, I’ve been swayed by the beautiful matte photography of its simple ingredients and the inventiveness of the carefully planned meals. In fact, I have often curled up with the book, fantasizing about all of the amazing meals I will prepare over the year.

The recipe I have enjoyed the most so far is for a soup. I have a particular weakness for the velvety soups that taste like the elixir of the gods—like those ingeniously made at Gramercy Tavern in NYC and 10 01 in Portland. Sadly at home, no matter how much cream I seem to add, or how crazy I get with my emulsion blender, I just can’t seem to recreate that velvety, creamy goodness. Therefore, my house winds up quite….soupless.

But recently, when flipping through the spring section of Platter of Figs, I became enchanted with the idea of doing the “Salmon on my Mind” meal with fried egg soup, roasted salmon with Vietnamese cucumbers, and rose scented strawberries. I was particularly curious about the “fried egg soup.” Generally, anything with ginger and garlic catches my attention, and I am very fond of cooking eggs in sauces and broths. This soup could not be simpler. You fry the eggs ahead of time, so it is a great dish for company, and you can also have the broth simmering and ready to go. If you are really inspired and make a great broth from scratch, the soup will be even better. I am one of those cooks who has never really kept homemade stock in the freezer, but even if you use prepared stock (I used Pacifica chicken broth), it will still be great.

This is also the perfect meal for one if you happen to be having dinner on your own. I think it going to be ideal for variations—as soon as the summer basil crop comes in, I am going to take out the ginger and bok choy, and add some pesto and zucchini instead. I will be soupless no more!

Fried Egg Soup

- serves 4 -

Adapted from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis.


4 eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 cups chicken stock
2 bunches green garlic shoots or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 half-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced bok choy or baby spinach
4 scallions, slivered

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a soup pot, then add the garlic and ginger. Simmer for about five minutes, then check for seasoning. Salt and pepper as needed.

2. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a skillet and fry the eggs gently until the white is set but the yolk is still a bit runny. Season generously with salt and pepper. The eggs can be fried ahead of serving.

3. Add the spinach or bok choy to the broth and simmer for an additional minute. Ladle into shallow bowls, and top each with a fried egg.