Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tomato soup

I don’t really have anything clever to say about this soup, but that’s kind of appropriate. Because this soup is a great recipe to have on hand when you’re out of clever ideas, or energy, or patience, or time, or fresh vegetables.

All of these are excellent reasons why this is a staple in my Friday-night dinner rotation.

Here are some more reasons to have this soup in your back pocket (not really, that would be messy): it can be made entirely out of pantry staples and comes together in less than 30 minutes. You can pair it with the basic grilled-cheese sandwich, or with a loaf of artisan bread and a wedge of the most exotic imported blue you can find. You can slurp it out of a mug on the sofa, or top it with homemade croutons and serve it to guests. Any way you approach it, it will not let you down.

Oh, and please note that it’s red. Just in case you were wanting to acknowledge Valentine’s Day in some subtle way, without caving to the holiday-industrial complex.

Basic tomato soup
Adapted from Real Fast Vegetarian Food by Ursula Ferrigno
I always blend this soup with my stick blender to get a thick, creamy consistency. If you haven’t got one and don’t want to mess with the whole blender/food processor business, just chop the onions a little bit smaller and more consistently to a uniform size.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 28 oz can tomatoes
2 cups stock (any kind) or water*
2 good handfuls bread crumbs**
1 pecorino romano rind (optional)
salt & pepper

Put a medium-sized pot on the stove over low-medium heat and add the oil. Roughly chop the onions and throw in the pot. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until softened and very lightly browned. Smash or roughly chop garlic and add to pan; sauté about 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes and juice, followed by stock or water and bread crumbs. Stir thoroughly. Add cheese rind now, if you’ve got one. Bring just to a boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes (or longer if you’d like).

If desired, purée with a stick blender. Check consistency and thin with a bit more liquid if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 4 as a meal, possibly with leftovers.

* When I don't have any stock, I fill the empty tomato can with water to rinse out all the remaining tomato. I pretend that's stock.
** Fresh, dried, white, whole wheat--whatever you've got.

Grilled cheese croutons
Adapted from Mark Bittman

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 slices hearty sandwich bread
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Sharp cheddar cheese

Heat oil on medium in skillet. Spread both slices of bread with mustard, then cover one piece with thin slices of cheese. (I use a vegetable peeler for this.) Cover cheese with second slice of bread, then put sandwich in pan to cook, weighting down with another pan or a sandwich press, 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned and cheese melted.

Remove sandwich from pan and allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut sandwich into 16-20 cubes. Sprinkle on top of soup when serving.


Alas alack icy cold snacks! said... Best Blogger Tips

Mmm, I want to make this soup for tonight.

celia said... Best Blogger Tips

Everyone should have an emergency meal like this on their repertoire - one they can pull out of the hat at any time. The soup sounds delicious too - I often make tomato soup from canned toms - I just find it's a sweeter, more concentrated result. Often fresh tomatoes are so watery! Thanks for the recipe, Nancy! :)

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Alas - check your pantry, maybe you can!

Celia - you're welcome! It's recipes like these that keep us motivated to try the bigger challenges in the kitchen.

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