Tomato Soup with Giant Croutons

2016-05-19 19.03.33RECIPE #245, DAY #333

FIVE STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Tomato Soup and Croutons” from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes*

TIMING: 30 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Pretty darn easy

TOOLS: A stick blender or a nice blender, a soup pot, a sheet pan, and similar things

COOK TYPE: Oven and stovetop

HEALTH: You’d really never know, but this soup is nearly all vegetable. Maybe I should have called is Just Tomatoes Soup. So yeah, it’s lacking in protein and satiety–so you’ll want to get those things from elsewhere–but it is popping with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, etc. This definitely meets some dietary requirements for fruits/veggies.

EXPERIENCE: I make a killer tomato bisque. But when perusing the Jamie Oliver family meals cookbook, this simple tomato soup seemed like a meal we would all enjoy. And why not start with fresh tomatoes? Even when nice canned ones are available? Roasting them off would be as simple a 1-2-3. (It was.)

What I wasn’t ready for were the reviews. Everyone around the large table raved. It was–despite my previous bowls of dairy-rich bisque–the best tomato soup they had ever had. And I was pleasantly shocked.

Plus, the giant croutons are fun and delicious.

NOTES: You’re going to have to provide something else with this soup. Yes, Oliver just paired it would a veggie tray and called the meal vegetarian, but-even to a vegetarian–this would be a mistake. You’re going to want a protein, not more carbs.

To keep this soup vegan and low fat, omit the creme fraiche dollop.

Your tomatoes could be any color of ripe, really. The yellow or orange ones might sweeten it up a bit.

***

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  2. On a large jelly roll pan, place 4 large, quartered tomatoes, 2 pounds cherry tomatoes, 4 crushed cloves garlic, and (optional) 1 halved red chile. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss together then bake at the top of the oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut a loaf of ciabatta into 8 pieces. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place at the bottom of the oven.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 chopped red onion. Stir until translucent, then add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and reduce until thick and syrupy. (At any rate, you don’t want to cook it all away.)
  5. Check on your bread. When the croutons are golden brown and slightly crispy, you’ll want to set them aside.
  6. When the timer goes off, remove the tomatoes from the oven and pour everything, including all the juices, into the soup pot with the onions. Stir, then simmer for a few minutes. Add most of a bunch of basil and, with a stick blender (or very carefully in the blender), puree the soup until smooth. Taste for seasonings.
  7. Return the soup to the pot and serve each bowl topped with a giant crouton, a dollop of creme fraiche, a drizzle of olive oil, and a basil leaf.

Serve the soup and giant crouton as a first course or as a very light lunch. I suppose you could also serve just the soup with a superb, country-bread and fancy-cheese grilled cheese.

*Recipe has been changed from the original.

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