simple tomato soup

Posted on June 4, 2013

For once I don’t have much to say. The past two weeks have really been tough and my brain refuses to remember what spurred me to make tomato soup in the first place, not to mention the struggle to come up with anything in the way of creative prose.  This soup is simple and good. It wouldn’t hurt to pair it with a sage grilled cheese sandwich or perhaps a cheesy bun. A simple salad wouldn’t be amiss.

In case the idea of tomato soup intrigues you, but you don’t feel up to making it from scratch, I’d recommend the creamy tomato soup from Whole Foods – either their prepared version from the deli or the boxed one – and would avoid the creamy tomato soup from Trader Joe’s – it’s strangely sweet and needed a fair amount of doctoring to be palatable.

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Tomato Soup, adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, sliced
1 – 2  leeks, sliced and rinsed of their grit
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 – 28 oz cans of  tomatoes, or four pounds fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons white rice
1 bay leaf
2 springs of thyme, basil or oregano
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

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In a large heavy-bottomed pan, saute onion and leeks in olive oil and butter. Cover and cook until soft but not brown, 5 -10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add the tomatoes, rice, bay, herbs and salt.  Saute for 10 minutes. Add the water and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

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Remove the herb sprig and bay leaf. Blend the soup until as smooth as possible. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer into another pot. It is worth the straining, trust me.

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Rewarm the soup and add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with creme fraiche and croutons.

Bite-Sized Croutons
several slices day-old bread
olive oil
salt

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I like my croutons to be manageable. Huge croutons that fill your mouth and seem like they’ll crack your teeth are not my thing. Make these using any old french bread you’ve got lying around.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Slice the bread into 1/3″ – 1/2″ cubes. Toss with olive oil. Spread onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 20 minutes, until browned and just slightly crunchy. They’ll get crunchier as they cool.

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-Emily