Forty Cloves of Garlic Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
40 garlic cloves (about 2 heads), peeled
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
French bread or baguette
pistachio-crusted shrimp, recipe follows

Warm oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; sauté until onion begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add spices and toast for 2 minutes. Pour in chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer on low until garlic is tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until silky smooth. Return to heat and warm. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. To serve, add a slice of bread to each bowl and ladle over with soup. Top bread platform with a few shrimp. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Pistachio-Crusted Shrimp

16 large shrimp, deveined and peeled with tails on
1/4 cup Wondra flour
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
canola oil

Prepare a station for coating the shrimp. Combine flour and Cajun seasoning on a plate; season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, lightly beat the egg whites. Add the chopped pistachios to a plate. Pat dry shrimp before beginning. Coat each shrimp first with flour mixture. Then dip one by one into the egg whites. Finally coat the shrimp with chopped pistachios, making sure to press the shrimp into the nuts to coat all around.

Warm oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once oil reaches smoking point, add the shrimp. Fry one minute per side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Yield: 4 servings.


--Recipe by Joseph Erdos