Bread Soup with Cilantro, Garlic and Poached Egg

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1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 cup olive oil
3 thick slices coarse-textured peasant bread, crusts removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
4 eggs
3-4 cups chicken stock




In a mortar, combine the garlic, salt, 1/2 cup of the cilantro and the red pepper flakes, if using. Mash with a pestle to form a paste. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until well blended. Evenly divide the garlic paste among 4 warmed soup bowls and keep warm.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the bread cubes with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and toast in the oven, turning a few times, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes.

Distribute the bread cubes evenly among the soup bowls and toss them with the garlic mixture.

In a deep frying pan, bring a generous amount of water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so that the water barely simmers. Crack each egg and gently release it just above the surface of the water. Simmer undisturbed until the whites are set but soft and the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs and set aside on a plate.

You may use the egg-poaching water (you will need 3-4 cups) for finishing the soup or you may use stock. Bring the water or stock to a boil and pour it over the bread cubes in each soup bowl, using only as much as needed to cover the bread. Carefully slip a poached egg into the center of each bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cilantro. Serve hot.


Active Time:  20 Minutes
Total Time:  25 Minutes
Yield:  4 Servings

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