White Bean Soup with Arugula Pesto & Roasted Garlic Chips
The first two dishes on the Indigo menu are soups. This one called for a white bean soup, an arugula pesto and garlic chips. White bean soup recipes are easy to come by. I picked the one from food network, then omitted the garlic from the recipe and decided to make the whole thing with flageolet beans. Arugula pesto was easy; I simply replaced basil with arugula in my usual pesto recipe.
Garlic chips were the hardest - I didn't even know such a thing existed. After tons of googling, I found a Thomas Keller recipe over at Cookbook Catchall and I was all set.
Here's the entire soup recipe from start to finish:
Soak 1/3 cup white beans (or the delicately green flageolet beans) in the morning if you are eating soup for dinner. In the evening, boil the beans until tender. Heat a tsp of butter and a tsp of olive oil in a pan. Add one shallot, chopped finely and cook on a low heat until it softens. Add a sage leaf and half a cup of cooked beans. Stir to combine. Add a cup of mushroom stock and a hearty pinch of salt. Simmer for around 10 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender and puree (but dont make it too smooth; leave it a little grainy).
For arugula pesto, pulse a loosely packed cup of arugula leaves in a blender until coarsely chopped. Add a tbsp of pine nuts, another tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of coarse sea salt and blend again.
For garlic chips, peel 8-10 garlic cloves and thinly slice on a mandolin. Put the slices in a small bowl and cover with cold milk. Microwave for 20-30 seconds until the milk comes to a boil. Drain the garlic slices in a strainer and discard the milk. Rinse in cold water. Repeat this three times, using fresh milk every time. Dry the garlic on paper towels, then fry in hot oil until golden brown.
The verdict : The soup was good by itself, with a little pepper on top. Flageolet beans have a great flavor anyway, and the mushroom stock added an earthy touch. Arugula pesto was too strong to deal with on its own, but it speckled the soup with green and added an interesting dimension. The best part of the dish was garlic chips. I sprinkled them on the soup; and I snacked on the leftovers. Well, my entire group at office snacked on them.