Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
I’m one of those strange birds that enjoys a hot bowl of soup any time of year—sweating over a steaming bowl in the summer is just my way of celebrating the greatness of soup. But I understand that fair-weather soup eaters might only enjoy it in the winter, and since we’re gearing up for the season, here’s a soup-erb one to add to your repertoire. (Is it too early for soup puns?)
Garlic mayo is for more than sandwiches
Garlic mayonnaise soup is a spin on Lautrec garlic soup, which uses a special variety of pink garlic from the Lautrec region of France that is valued for its intense cultivation method and more mellow flavor compared to the astringent bite that white and purple garlic can have. Rest assured, though, that this soup tastes incredible with whichever garlic you have on hand.
If you’re thinking that garlic mayo sounds more like a sandwich spread than a soup, you’re not wrong. I was also surprised when I first read about this dish. Adding an egg yolk emulsion to soup didn’t worry me—it’s not uncommon to temper eggs into soups (like Avgolemono soup) to give it a thickened, silky quality—but I was thinking that this might end up tasting like a bowl of hot mayonnaise. But I trusted that the garlic would carry it to a higher level...and it did.
The flavor is indisputably garlic, but in its kindest, most gentle state thanks to boiling the garlic beforehand. All of the sharp, inside-of-your-cheek burning of raw garlic is gone, and a milder aroma and flavor remains. The mayonnaise reads more as saltiness than sandwich, as it disperses among the garlic, sage, and chicken stock. It also adds necessary body to the broth.
One bowl of this soup uses an entire head of garlic, so if you accidentally acquired more garlic than you’ve ever needed before—or if you just can’t get enough of the pungent stuff—this is the soup for you. To make this French-style garlic mayonnaise soup, grab a whole head of garlic and smash each clove open to peel off the paper and take off the hard connective tab at the bottom of each clove. Smashing the garlic allows it to cook and soften faster, while also allowing you to remove all the papery skin. Boil the crushed cloves in chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish) with a sage sprig, until the cloves are extremely soft. Take the garlic cloves out of the stock and crush them into a paste with a knife on a cutting board, or press them through a sieve with the back of a spoon. Discard the sage and add the garlic paste back into the stock.
You can either use store-made mayonnaise, or if you feel gross about using a sandwich dressing in your soup, you can make a homemade mayonnaise. Both actually taste great.
Make homemade mayonnaise, if you want
If you decide to make your own, then you’ll whisk an egg yolk with a half teaspoon of dijon mustard and drizzle in about four ounces of olive oil until it’s light, creamy, and emulsified. Temper the egg mayonnaise with hot garlic broth and return it back to the pot on the stove. If you’re using store-bought mayonnaise, you can add it to a bowl and temper the mayonnaise to loosen and bring it up to temperature. Once everything is back in the pot, heat it up until scalding—but not boiling—stirring frequently.
To make the soup extra silky, finish it off by blending it smooth with an immersion or regular blender. Serve this with a few crusty toast points and you’ve got a comforting bowl of soup that’ll possibly dispel any old-school vampires, and might even boost your immune system this winter.
How to make garlic mayo soup
Ingredients:2 cups chicken stock1 head garlic (cloves de-papered and smashed)Sprig of sage⅓ cup of mayonnaise⅛ teaspoon saltPinch of cayenne (optional)Crusty toast points
In a small pot with a lid, boil chicken stock, sage, and garlic cloves over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove the sage and discard it. Take out the garlic cloves and purée them by pressing them out on a cutting board with a knife, using a food processor or pressing them through a sieve. Return the garlic paste to the broth and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, loosen the mayonnaise with a whisk and temper it with the hot garlic broth until it has loosened and warmed up. Add the tempered mayonnaise mixture to the pot and whisk it until combined over medium-low heat. Bring the soup barely to a simmer and turn off the heat. Stir in salt and cayenne. Serve with plenty of toast points and your coziest throw blanket.