Soup with attitude, Jamie Oliver called it. I’d say it’s soup with passion, because it’s a bit of a palaver to make, so you’d better really want it. But once you sampled it, you will love it.
This goes back to a dish Jamie Oliver once made on TV, so I shall claim only part ownership to this recipe – part ownership because I never saw or followed Jamie’s, but at any rate, it’s lovely, and the name Bread Soup is one of those lovely kitchen understatements…
Jamie called it Bread Soup With Attitude. It’s also a bit of a palaver to make, thus truly Italian, and lovely. Here goes:
Per person, find 250ml good stock. I cook a chicken with vegetables in just the right amount of liquid, set the chicken meat aside for something else some other day, skim and clarify the soup.
Then, per person, take two thick slices stale white bread. Stale, but not rock-hard. Remove some of the crust, pre-cut the remaining crust to make it easier to eat without a mess in the end. Gently fry the slices with garlic and olive oil, then rub a ripe tomato into each side.
Cut Savoy cabbage leaves and Cavolo Nero leaves into pieces roughly the size of the bread slice, and fry with olive oil for a two minutes or so. Crisp some bacon or panchetta, grind a good amount of Gruyere cheese. Stack bread, cabbage, bacon, cheese, bread, cabbage, bacon, cheese into s soup dish, and grill until the cheese begins to brown.
Shallow-fry whole sage leaves in clarified butter until they are crisp. Drain the fat and try not to break the leaves, which are now very brittle.
Now pour the stock over each portion, return to the grill for another minute or two.
Decorate with crisp sage leaves, maybe a remaining slice of crisp bacon, and a drizzle of the sage-infused clarified butter, and serve immediately.