It’s been a long, long week. Some weeks just seem to drag on, don’t they? I tried to get as much sleep as possible to perk me up during the day, but I suppose that my body isn’t used to it and it has just made me feel sluggish instead. Then, the other day, I started feeling kind of run down and sick, which it just the worst, but often to be expected this time of the year with the temperature fluctuating all of the time and everything. I just want the weather to decide what season it is so I can have some continuity in my life! One day it’s beautiful, breezy, and 70 degrees, the next it’s humid, muggy, and 80+ degrees. I’m not liking it one bit! That’s why, the other day, when I was feeling down and it was one of the cooler days, I decided to make tomato soup.
I’ve made tomato soup before, but it just wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. Sure, it was tasty and full of ripe tomato flavor, but it just didn’t have the consistency or flavors that I was looking for when I set out to make it. This tomato soup, however, hit all the right notes, as far as I’m concerned. It was wonderfully creamy; almost velvety. This texture was achieved by not only thoroughly pureeing the soup with my brand new immersion blender, but also by straining it through a mesh sieve. A little extra work really does go a long way when making something as classic as tomato soup! I especially loved the use of sage in addition to basil. It added a bright, unexpected flavor to the usual basil and tomato combination. Sage has a slightly peppery flavor, which plays well against the bold tomatoes and pairs nicely with the delicate basil. The cream cut through the acidity of the tomatoes a bit, too, so you can just keep on eating. I made little “croutons” out of grilled cheese sandwiches, which Kramer especially loved, and sprinkled a bit of basil and sage over the top of everything for a beautiful garnish. This soup tasted just like fresh tomatoes, which is really what I look for in a tomato soup. I hope you’ll make a big pot of it soon before all of the good tomatoes are gone!
Core your tomatoes and drizzle them with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast in the oven for 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, until the garlic is golden and the tops of the skins on the tomatoes are beginning to just be a bit charred.
- 8-9 large tomatoes, washed and cored
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 shallot, quartered (use ¼ an onion if you don’t have a shallot)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 leaves basil, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
- 4 leaves sage, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 slices crusty bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for the pan
- 9 slices cheese (I used Swiss)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Place your cored tomatoes on the sheet. Make two foil packets and place the garlic in one and the shallot or onion in the other. Sprinkle the tomatoes, garlic, and shallot with the salt and pepper, then drizzle lightly with the olive oil. Close up the packets and place on the sheet with the tomatoes. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until the garlic is golden and the tomatoes are slightly charred on the top parts of the skin.
- Place the tomatoes, shallot, and garlic in a food processor or a large bowl. Sprinkle with half of the basil and half of the sage. Either use your processor or immersion blender to puree everything. If you need to work in batches, that’s fine, just have a pot ready to put the pureed soup in to keep it warm. Add in the cream and sugar last and taste for seasoning (I added a pinch of salt and pepper and a bit more basil and sage to suit my tastes). Warm in a pot over medium heat to re-heat, if necessary (I used an immersion blender and did not need to do this).
- Divide the soup into 3 bowls. Sprinkle with any remaining basil and sage and top with the grilled cheese croutons (recipe follows).
- Butter both sides of each slice of bread. Over medium-high heat, heat a small amount of butter (about a teaspoon) in a pan and wipe it away with a paper towel when foaming, so that the surface is non-stick but there are no pools of standing butter. Toast 2 slices of bread on one side for a minute or two, then flip. Add 3 slices of cheese to one of the toasted sides, then place the other slice, toasted side down facing the cheese, to top. Use a spatula to press together.
- Toast until the other side of the bread is golden, then flip and toast the other side of the sandwich. Remove to another place and continue until you have 3 sandwiches. Serve whole or cut up into small squares and use as croutons for a garnish.