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Soup for the Sickie: Lemony Stracciatella

Last weekend, we trotted out to the Eastern Shore with some friends in lieu of our usual summer camping trip. We swapped sleeping beds for the relative luxury of beds as one of us is about 7 months pregnant (with twins “Ricky” and “Lucy”… at least till actual names are confirmed) and the saner among us managed to convince the mother-to-be that she really shouldn’t be sleeping on the ground whilst this far along.

And, despite mice, flies, roaches, and the (well-behaved, just creepy) nuclear plant just down the bay, we had a lovely time. We grilled things, did some fierce water’s edge Pilates, savored the seaside sunrises, saw a bunch of non-verminous animals (skates, minnows, heron, fireflies), had soft-serv, and played what is alleged to be the funnest board game ever. I remain open-minded if unconvinced on that latter bit.

Aside from the actual flies in the tzatziki, the only fly in the ointment is that Mr. T got some sort of death flu halfway through the weekend and retired to bed for the remainder of the trip. Being a total champ, he rallied for dinner and–fortified with lamb, Robitussin, and scotch–made it through the most huckterish game of Catan ever.

Unfortunately, he’s was still sick when I came home tonight, so I swung into action, making a lemony egg-drop soup of indeterminately Mediterranean origins. I’m using the Italian name, though it occurs to me that this is may have more in common with the Greek version, avgolemono. Oh well.

The traditional Italian version, stracciatella, generally does not contain lemon, but does have nutmeg and sometimes semolina flour. Mr. T is partial to hot lemony things, though, and it was deemed a tastily recuperative substitution.

Lemony Stracciatella
Yield: ~2 servings

4 c. good chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium)
1 clove garlic
2 eggs
1/2 oz Microplane’d Parmesan cheese
1 lemon
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Put the broth in a small saucepan. Crush and peel the garlic clove and add it to the broth. Bring to a gentle simmer.

While the broth is coming up to temperature, zest the lemon into a small bowl and add the eggs, Parmesan, a dash each of salt and pepper, and about a tablespoon of water. Whisk with a fork to thoroughly combine.

Once the broth comes to a simmer, fish out the garlic and discard. Turn the heat down so the broth is just below the simmer and whisk vigorously in one direction to create a little chickeny Charybdis. Remove the whisk and while the broth is still spinning merrily, drizzle the egg mixture into the pot in a thin stream.

The heat and movement of the broth will cook the egg into little shreds on contact.

Serve with well-buttered toast and a look of tender concern.

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