Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nevermind the Scorching Heat

I know it’s not time for hot soup. The mercury's pushing 90+, but Sonny has been asking for tomato soup and I wanted to make some comfort food for a friend who just had a baby. You know, a two-birds-with-one-stone situation.

Tomato Soup
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 10 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch basil (or 1 healthy handful)
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • honey or sugar (optional)
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottom large pot over medium heat, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot in a thin coat. Add the onions and cook until they are well caramelized. This could take 20 minutes for more. It’s okay if they take on color; just don’t let them burn. Add the vinegar and allow to reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the garlic, tomatoes, basil and water. Bring to a boil, put the lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending with a stick blender (or in a regular blender). I always run the soup through a sieve to give a smooth texture (this is optional). If you do this, you can add some of the solids back in to give a thicker texture (try about 1/4 cup). Season the soup well with salt and pepper. If you used sweet onions and tomatoes, you probably won’t have to add honey, but add a little to cut the acidity if you think it needs it. I recommend serving it warm to lukewarm (not piping hot).

I love serving this soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. See that sandwich in the picture? It is made with the best tasting toasting bread I’ve ever had. I got it at Delphina's at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. It's got polenta and rice, and it’s dense and slightly sweet. Reminds me of the wonderful fresh baked breads I had in Denmark. When toasted, all the different flavors stand out yet complement each other nicely. A little pricey, but worth it for artisan bread.

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