Sunday, August 10, 2008

Under the Provencal Sun

Soup just has a way of making you feel good. With minimal work and maximum payoff, soup is my go-to meal when I just don't really feel like doing much, but when I want something warm and soul-satisfying.

I found this Ina Garten recipe for Soupe au Pistou on Food Network's web site, and decided it looked like a nice, light summer soup. Well, it was one of the best soups I've ever tasted. In fact, the broth was kind of addictive. Fragrant with saffron and perfectly flavored with every ingredient, I could have had bowlfuls of just broth and been happy. But the creamy potatoes, crisp-tender haricots verts, and the combination of two onions (I used green onions in lieu of leeks, which cost almost three times as much at Publix) made the soup spectacular.

Last summer, my parents brought me a little glass vial of deep orange-red saffron. I saved it for the longest time, and recently cracked the bottle's little wax seal. Now I'm obsessed. In the somewhat unlikely event that you have saffron on hand, this is the place to use it. If you don't, I'd seriously consider "investing" in some (it's not cheap!) because it was the single best flavor in the whole bowl.

As a side note, I made the pistou, but the garlic was SO overwhelming that we left it out of the soup completely. It tasted grassy and spicy, and just not right for the delicate, flowery soup. If I were to make it again, I'd cut wayyy back on the garlic...

Late summer is the perfect time to drink rosé, a Provençal specialty. Lightly fruity, with just a whisper of tannin, it's not to be confused with that awful other pink wine. Anyway, with this soup, we thoroughly enjoyed Paul Jaboulet Aine Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 Rosé 2007. It was on sale at our local market for $8.99...but the regular price was $10.99, which is still pretty budget-friendly. It's delicious and oh-so pretty. I couldn't resist a picture...

3 comments:

Lytle said...

Katie, ever since I read this post, I've craved the soup! I hope to make it this weekend. I love Ina Garten's recipes and use them all the time! Anyway - how did you measure out 4 oz of spaghetti? Any tricks?

Katie said...

I actually skipped the spaghetti, but 4 oz is 1/4 of a regular box, so you can just eyeball it...enjoy!!

Lytle said...

I was thinking of leaving out the spaghetti too, actually. Doesn't seem totally necessary... Thanks for finding (and creating) great recipes Katie!