Thursday, February 07, 2013

Egg-Lemon Soup with Crab, Orzo and Arugula

There seem to be these strange unspoken rules about what makes for a Valentine's Day meal. It's got to be chocolate, or steak, or some gooey-with-cheese risotto or such. But I argue that's limited thinking. Special occasion dishes (be they for your special someone or a party of one) need not (and, arguably, best not) be dripping with heavy flavors. They can be light and lovely, yet still totally befitting of a special evening. Like this soup.

I adapted this recipe from the amazing Silvena Rowe, who tends to give an interesting Ottoman spin to anything she touches. The end result is a riff on the avgolemono soup common throughout Mediterranean. It's tart yet rich, studded with slippery orzo, a luxurious bite of sweet and briny crabmeat, and a handful of arugula to brighten things up. It's a refreshing different entry into the Fancy Soup category (a category that seems populated exclusively with sherry-spiked cream bisques). It might even be my new Valentine.

Egg-Lemon Soup with Crab, Orzo and Arugula

adapted from Silvena Rowe's Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume (her original version is much heavier on the egg yolks, so feel free to play around if you fancy a richer, thicker soup)

yields 4 small first-course servings, or 2-3 main course servings

1 quart chicken broth or stock
1/4 cup orzo
2 egg yolks
juice of 1 large lemon (or more, to taste)
1/4 — 1/2 pound picked crab meat
several handfuls arugula
several pinches crushed sumac (optional, available at Middle Eastern grocery stores)

In a large saucepan or small pot, bring the broth to a boil over a medium-high heat. Add the orzo, and reduce the heat until it's just high enough to maintain a simmer. Cook until the orzo is quite tender, ~20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and lemon zest. Ladle in a half cup of the hot stock, whisk to temper, then pour the mixture back into the pot. Whisk to combine, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Let simmer for a minute to heat, then add the crab meat and arugula. Let cook for a minute or two, until the arugula is just wilted and the crab is heated through. Ladle into bowls, top with a pinch of sumac, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. This looks so good. I love avgolemono. Good idea to add the crab.