Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cabbage Garlic Tofu Soup With Roasted Garlic Gruyere Croutons

A number of days ago while reading posts from some of my favorite food bloggers, my mouse finger became very still as I spied a photo and recipe on Catherine's blog, Albion Cooks, that resonated deep in that place in the food section of the brain that says, "Oh, yeah! This would taste really good, right now!" And so I told Catherine, right then, that I HAD to make her soup and would she mind if I posted it. She kindly gave me permission to rif.

My pantry and fridge came up short in the green garlic department and none of the local markets had any either, so I went with what I had on hand, which was organic garlic cloves. And since I subscribe to the more-is-better-when-it-comes-to-garlic philosophy, I roasted a few heads to smear on the croutons. Makes me drool just writing this.

The soup was everything I thought it would be: warming, spicy, garlicky and light. You could eat a lot of this. I know I did.

Cabbage Garlic Tofu Soup With Roasted Garlic Gruyere Croutons
Adapted from Catherine's
Cabbage & Green Garlic Soup, with thanks
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon
Earth Balance
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced thin
3 medium-size green onions (scallions), cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch wide pieces
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon green olive paste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (see Cook's Notes)
Kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper

1 package firm tofu, cut into small cubes (no more than 1/2-inch square)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 seeded baguette (locally produced from the
North Coast Bakery)
2 heads roasted garlic
Olive oil and kosher salt
grated Gruyere cheese

About 1 hour before starting to prepare the soup, heat your oven to 350 degrees and generously oil a small covered baking dish.
Peel the papery outer layers of skin from two large heads of garlic, keeping the cloves intact.
Place one head on a cutting board on its side and using a sharp knife, cut off the tops of the garlic cloves just to where the lovely kernel inside is revealed. Repeat with the other head of garlic. Don't worry if some of the cloves become detached, just throw them into the dish with the rest.
Place the garlic heads in the baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt.
Put the lid on the dish and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the garlic is soft and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the dish with the lid off.

Make your croutons:
Turn the oven up to 400 degrees.
Cut the baguette into 1/4-inch wide diagonal slices, place them on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven, turning each piece over halfway through toasting, until they are golden brown. This will take 7 to 10 minutes.
When they have toasted, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in the baking pan. You will smear the garlic and melt the cheese later.

NOW we're ready to make soup:
Put the 1 tablespoon each olive oil and Earth Balance (or butter if you prefer) into a soup pot over medium heat.
Saute the onions until soft. You may have to lower the heat so they don't burn.
Add the finely sliced garlic and saute for about 1 minute more. The garlic aroma should just begin to hit your nose.
Add the cabbage and cook for about 5 minutes more.
Pour in the vegetable broth, green olive paste and red pepper flakes, if using and tofu cubes. Bring it just to a simmer then allow it to cook gently, covered, for about 10 minutes, adding the scallions after 5 minutes cooking time.
Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper (see Cook's Notes),add the vinegar, allow it to simmer for a few more minutes and it's done!

To finish off the croutons:
While the soup is in the 10-minute simmer stage, crank your oven up to 300 degrees.
Remove the cooked garlic cloves from their skins and smear one (or two) on each toasted crouton. Top each crouton with a bit of grated Gruyere cheese, place the baking sheet back in the oven and heat just until the cheese begins to melt.

To serve:
I ladled the soup into warm bowls and place a warm crouton on top. That wasn't particularly photogenic so the croutons went on the side for the photo shoot.

Cook's Notes:
I have very small, very hot, whole dried red chile peppers and when I want flakes I put a chile into my mortar with a pinch of coarse kosher salt and grind the heck out of it. One chile will usually yield 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, which is about right for my tastes.

The organic vegetable broth that I used for this soup was low in sodium. I found that I needed to add a teaspoon or more of kosher salt to bring out all the good flavors in the soup.

Vegetarian as is, this meal could easily become vegan by omitting the cheese from the croutons.

Copyright © 2005-2007, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved.


Katie said...

Green garlic - yummm
Green olive paste... Green onions... Garlic and Gruyere...
What an interesting assortment of flavors! It makes me want to make it right now as well!

Anonymous said...

That really does look good and you are being so healthy at the moment! Have you actually eaten any meat since your son left after decorating?!! I do like healthy eating and vegetarian cooking but I have to admit to liking a bit of meat or fish.
ps we are actually eating a vegetarian meal tonight - very special gluten free pies that I bought in Brighton today - french cassoulet - I'll just have to tackle the gluten free pasty one day!!

Catherine said...

Christine - this looks awesome! I love the idea of using roasted garlic. I haven't had that in ages. So glad to see your version. Take care, C.

Christine said...

Yes! It was so easy, being green...

The only meat I've eaten since Jeffrey left was a piece of catfish for dinner one night and then in salad the next day. That's it. Right now I'm very happy with this new regimen. I did promise Mr CC at roast leg of lamb this weekend though. Sigh.

Thanks again for putting this recipe on your blog. It's one I'll make again. And again.