It’s full garlic season in the Middle East. Markets display piles of the pungent bulbs, with the green stalks for you to hang up and dry, or with the greens chopped off for your convenience. I confess, I’m crazy about about garlic. Every spring, I buy 30 kg. to see me through the year. Local garlic, with its purple peel and dirty roots. Never imported garlic, and here’s why.
How about some garlic soup? If the bare thought makes you shudder, here’s the good news: roasting tames the raw flavor of garlic until it’s almost sweet. Try this creamy, roasted garlic soup. It’s perfect for the present changeable weather – or any time, really. Note: this recipe is totally Passover-friendly and makes a nice change from the usual Passover fare.
Creamy Roasted Garlic Soup
6 whole garlic heads
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups cream
4 tablespoons grated hard cheese like Parmesan or Kashkeval
1 lemon, quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375° F – 180° C.
Remove the outer layer of peel from the garlic heads, if dirty, but don’t peel them entirely. Slice away a thin layer from each one’s bottom (root end) so that the flesh shows.
Spread the olive oil all over the garlic heads, taking special care to oil the bottoms.
Bake the garlic for 45 minutes. The heads should be soft.
Separate the cloves and squeeze the soft flesh out from each. Press at the pointed end; the flesh will come out of the exposed root end.
In a soup pot, fry the onions and thyme in the butter until the onions wilt.
Add the garlic flesh and vegetable stock.
Cook 20 minutes over medium-low heat, covered.
Blend the soup until smooth.
Whip the cream. Add it to the soup.
Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Top each serving with grated cheese. Serve the soup with a quarter of a lemon to squeeze in.