Traditional Tuscan Bread Soup with Fried Sage
Beer Pairing: Occidental's Alt
Recipe Provided by: Emily Engdahl
Serves 4 plus leftovers
¼ plus ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh basil, shredded
6 cups cubed or torn day-old bread (this is roughly one smallish loaf of ciabatta or French baguette)
2 - 28oz cans San Marzano or other good quality whole tomatoes in juice + (1) 14 ½ oz can diced tomatoes in juice
2 ½ cups water
16 fresh sage leaves, 6 minced, 10 left whole
1. To begin, make the sage oil by heating 1/3 cup of oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. When it's quite hot, add all the sage and remove from heat. Let steep for about 20 minutes.
2. In a large soup pot, pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil and gently turn the pan so that the oil coats the bottom; heat over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add your garlic and sauté for a bit, careful not to let the garlic brown or burn.
3. Add the basil and stir, then add the cubed bread plus a 1/2 teaspoon salt and several good grinds of black pepper. When the bread is oiled and a bit toasted, add the tomatoes and their juices. Roughly mash the whole tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.
4. Once this has all cooked together some, taste and add more salt if it doesn't taste bright. Then, add water (about 2 and 1/2 cups) to get a nice stew-like consistency. Simmer for a while, about 40 minutes, stirring regularly.
5. Return to your sage oil. Carefully remove the whole leaves for garnish and strain the oil through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside.
6. When the soup has simmered, and the flavors have combined, ladle into bowls and drizzle some of the strained oil over each. Garnish with a fried sage leaf and serve.
Beer Pairing Notes:
Occidental Alt: Says Reed, “Drew and I are very much in concurrence that the Occidental Alt is one not to miss. The medium body and light roast lend themselves well to fall favorites such as roasted fowl (yep, insert shameless turkey plug here, I LOVE Thanksgiving), smoky ham and nutty gruyere sandwiches, any sort of late season barbecue or classic Italian "red-sauce" dish.” Additionally, the Alt transitions from traditional holiday tables to easy party foods. In Worden’s words, "this is an AMAZING pizza beer.”
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