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Last month I wrote about how Italians make clever use of stale bread by turning it into a salad . This month we go to the Castilla y León region of Spain where clever peasants of yore turned stale bread, garlic, and scraps of ham into a delicious soup. The beauty of this dish is that it makes for a light summer meal when you don’t want to have the stove on for too long, and a hearty appetizer during winter. I’m all for dishes that don’t take a lot of time or ingredients and this soup delivers a lot of bang for your buck. The bread soaks up the soup, giving it a pudding-like texture, while the poached egg lends a creamy richness that belies its humble origins.
We’re on day two of something called a “wintry mix” which I suspect if I lived in one of those places where one was forced to wear shorts and sunglasses in January, eating food plucked recently from the ground ( pea tendrils , anyone?) I’d imagine constituted a fun day of mixed winter activities, like snowfall fights followed by ice skating and then, if you’re not too tuckered out, some hot cocoa before you head home. Alas, a “wintry mix” is the precise reason my only current goal in life is to flee to someplace tropic and sandy.
On Wednesday my sister and I volunteered to make the soup supper to go with the Advent service at church. Before you go thinking I'm some kind of charitable, goodhearted soul, I must tell you that the only reason that I do it is because I LOVE COOKING. In case you're really dumb and haven't figured that out yet. Okay, so I was like, "Whadaya think, Nemo? Will two huge pots of soup, a crockpot full of barbequed meatballs, five trillion chicken salad sandwiches, fifty thousand and two loaves of bread, and a couple bazillion desserts cover it?"