"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Italian Chicken Soup with Egg Strands and Parmesan

I must confess I had high hopes embarking upon this soup recipe, and here's why:

When I was head chef at As You Like It, I made Stracciatella (that's Italian Chicken Soup with Egg Strands and Parmesan) one fine day, using a recipe from Joy of Cooking. Now, don't get huffy--this was years ago and before our beloved Gourmet Cookbook was in print.

We used to have a regular customer, an artist from Rocky Neck. He was clearly a man who enjoyed his food, and he especially loved my soups, and he just FLIPPED over this one. Said it was just like when he was a kid--the "rags" of egg especially. It's not that hard to make, but you don't really see it around that much on menus.

This recipe, which is not online, is one of the super fast ones--you whisk together eggs, grated parm, parsley and scallion, bring your stock to a boil, then add eggs in a stream, whisking constantly.

If you look closely at the photo above, you'll see that the eggs were hardly "strands". Little tiny egg curds were more like it.

I think the error lies in the direction to "whisk constantly". If the eggs were stirred gently with a spoon in a clockwise motion while you were pouring them in, you'd get some cohesiveness instead of that scrambled eggs effect.

It wasn't bad. But with a soup this simple, texture and flavor become all-important, and the texture of the cooked eggs was (I thought) unappealing. Unfortunately I made this at work--no chance for a re-do--it had to go out for a small luncheon, and it did.


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