This Mediterranean soup is new to me but has a long history in France. Aïgo bouïdo (meaning “garlic boiled water’ in the Provençal language) is indeed an old concoction, once very popular in the south of France. It was said to have health benefits such as improving liver function and blood circulation, fighting cold (and hangovers, apparently) and was believed to support general physical and spiritual health.
When I first cooked the dish I found that all this goodness came at the price of flavour. Originally it consisted of garlic boiled
in water with a few aromatics. Julia Child’s recipe then emulsifies the hot broth through a mayonnaise to thicken it. I have gone a step or two further by adding a small amount of potato for a creamier consistency; sautéing the garlic cloves to enhance their flavour; and using stock instead of water. The result is a richer, more rounded flavour and texture—but with the garlicky goodness
of the original intact.