Eva Restaurant has only been open a short while, in the former Hatfield's location on Beverly Boulevard, but it was packed last night, the patrons taking shelter from the sudden rainstorm. Slightly damp diners ate bowlsful of warm potato-Reggiano soup as the rain came down, chef-owner Mark Gold ushering people out of the weather, the valet outside standing stoically under the awnings, the weeping umbrellas on the wooden bench by the door.
Gold gave us a recipe ("It's an easy one!") for the soup, a velvety smooth concoction made with homemade stock and enriched with a cheese rind. Grate some summer truffles if you have them, but if you don't, a try a bit of bacon or just some snipped chives. Comfort food for a rainy week.
Potato and Reggiano Soup
From: Mark Gold, chef-owner of Eva Restaurant. Gold serves this soup with shaved summer truffles, but says that it would be great with bacon, smoked salmon, candied chestnuts, pickled chanterelles, lemon confit or whatever else suits you.
Makes: A lot.
Leek and garlic nage:
5 pounds of leeks, cleaned
2 1/2 pounds of peeled garlic
5 fresh bay leaves
4 ounces of unsalted butter
1 gallon of water
1. Place all of the ingredients together in a large pot, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain through a chinois or cheesecloth and reserve the liquid.
Potato and Reggiano soup:
5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
4 ounces unsalted butter
2 ounces olive oil
1 gallon of leek and garlic nage (see recipe above)
4 ounces of grated Reggianno (or Parmigiano-Reggiano) cheese
1 rind from the Reggianno cheese
1 lemon, cut in half
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1. In a large rondeau or soup pot, add the olive oil and butter, the onion and the fennel, and sweat over low heat until the vegetables become soft and translucent.
2. Add the peeled and diced potatoes, the cheese rind, and 1 gallon of the leek and garlic nage. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
3. Remove the soup from from heat, take out the rind, and blend in small batches in a blender, adding the Reggianno cheese as the soup is blending. Blend each batch until smooth and creamy, up to 5 minutes. You may also strain the soup through a cheesecloth or chinois for an even smoother texture.
4. Season with salt and white pepper as needed. Add the juice from the lemon until you develop the right level of acidity in the soup.