Laurent rarely gets the sniffles. In fact, he usually manages to get through the entire Canadian winter without catching a single cold. But, apparently, this year's cool summer start got the better of him, and he stayed home from work for the first time since I've known him.
Around here, lunch is typically a very simple affair. Laurent usually takes leftovers to work, or I make him a sandwich to go. I work from home, and just make myself some sort of sandwich or wrap and a salad when lunchtime rolls around. But last week, I decided to make him something more comforting, and settled on my mother's corn and crab soup.
This recipe is one of the first ones my mother ever gave me. She was born in Vietnam, and this simple, hearty soup incorporates many Asian ingredients: ginger root, coriander, soy sauce, and the all-important sesame oil. I never realized what a difference in flavour sesame oil makes until I made this soup myself. The trick is to not add too much, no matter how much you may be tempted to, or else the taste becomes bitter and overwhelming.
What I like about this soup, aside from its its wonderful sweet-and-salty taste, is that it is very quick and easy to make, with ingredients that I usually always have on hand. And it's full of good protein: ideal for fighting off a cold.
So, even though I feel sad that summer isn't quite here yet, I console myself with the thought that it means we can eat cool-weather comfort food for a little while longer. The time for crisp, cold salads and iced desserts will be here soon enough.
My Mother's Corn and Crab Soup
One 540ml (19 fl oz) can of corn, drained
One 110g (4 oz) can of crab, drained
750ml (3 cups) light chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten with a bit of water and some pepper
Sesame oil to taste (about 1 tsp)
Pepper to taste
Chopped coriander to decorate
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
In a heavy saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the corn and simmer over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Add the crab, onion, garlic, ginger and soy sauce and simmer for 5 minutes more.
Lower heat and incorporate the egg, stirring constantly. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Season with sesame oil and pepper. Divide into bowls, decorate with coriander leaves ad sprinkle with Cayenne pepper if desired. Serve hot.
(Note: I like chunky soups, but if you prefer smooth, blended soups, you can run the soup through a hand mixer before transfering it to the bowls. You can also add more chicken broth or water if you feel it is too thick.)