Monday, July 11, 2011

Ultimate Tomato Grilled Cheese with Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

As a child, my mother would make me grilled cheese with bread and butter pickles.  Now, every time I eat one it reminds me of my childhood.  I used whole grain bread for a heartier texture, 2 kinds of complementing cheeses to increase the flavor profile, and sliced tomatoes for an unexpected twist.  To complete the meal, I made a simple roasted tomato basil soup and topped it with fresh Parmesan and basil.  The soup takes about an hour and a half to make so plan ahead.  It's not complicated but the tomatoes have to roast in the oven to bring out the sweetness and then simmer in a pot to blend the flavors.  For me, this is the ultimate comfort food.  Simple, warm, and delicious. 

This meal brings me back to my childhood, but I dressed it up for a more sophisticated meal
Tomato Soup Ingredients:
Fresh ingredients make this simple soup soul satisfying
3lb fresh tomatoes (choose whatever looks best at the supermarket.  I used tomatoes on the vine.)
3tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
6 cloved minced garlic (or about 2tbs prepared minced garlic)
1/2tsp red pepper flakes
1 - 28oz can whole tomatoes with their juice
1c sliced carrots
1 quart chicken stock
1-2 cups fresh basil (I bought a tube of fresh minced basil and used about 3/4 the tube)
1tsp dried thyme
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Parmesan and fresh basil for serving, optional

1. Halve or quarter fresh tomatoes and toss with 2tbs olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, chop 2 onions.  Add the remaining tbs of oil to the pan over medium heat until hot.  Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes about 30 seconds.  Add the onions and saute until beginning to brown.  Add the can of whole tomatoes, sliced carrots, chicken stock, basil and thyme.
3. Simmer for 40 minutes.  Puree with an immersion blender and stir in 2tbs balsamic vinegar.  Serve with extra basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.
A note to Gluten Free dieters: The tomato soup is gluten free and vegan, but obviously the sandwich is not.  Substitute your favorite gluten free bread below if desired.

Ingredients to make 1 sandwich:
2 slices whole grain bread (if gluten free, use your favorite gluten free bread)
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
1 slice muenster cheese
1 small tomato, sliced
butter, softened, for spreading.

1. Spread one slice of bread with butter, place butter side down in a nonstick pan.  Top with 1 slice cheese, followed by tomato slices, followed by the other cheese.  Butter another piece of bread and put this slice butter side up on top of the sandwich.
2. Turn the pan to medium or medium high.  Cook until golden brown on one side and the cheese starts to melt (Tip: If the bread is browning too quickly, turn down the heat and cover the pan to help melt the cheese).
3. Serve with a warm bowl of tomato soup.

No comments:

Post a Comment