Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tomato Bread Soup

Crunchy and soft, all in one.

I have been sick with a cold for several days now, drinking pitcher upon pitcher of water and pots of tea. A couple days ago I picked up a few heirloom tomatoes at the farmer's market, intending to make caprese salad this weekend. Instead, I opted for Tomato Basil soup. But since I can never do anything without a little bit of flair, I opted for this tomato bread soup I had seen on Mark Bitman's blog awhile back. It's similar to French onion soup, with chunks of bread incorporated into the soup to give it some bulk. I did make one change: I held back a couple chunks of the bread and used them to top the soup like croutons, so there were several textures from the sogginess of the bread that sits for 10 minutes plus some crunch from the crouton tops.

To peel the tomatoes easily, heat a pot of water to boiling, then drop each tomato in the water for about 10 seconds. The skins should easily peel off.

Eat Rating: Awesome. I'm sensing a new staple.
Difficulty: Very easy. One pot even.

Adapted from Tomato Soup With Bread (Pappa al Pomodoro), Bitten Blog, NYT

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups of tomato, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped (LN: This was about 3 large-ish heirlooms)
2 cups of broth, water or tomato juice
1/2 loaf of crusty bread, preferably day-old, cut or torn into bite-size chunks (LN: I used a baguette bought that morning, cubes toasted in the oven for a few minutes)
1/2 cup basil leaves torn into bits
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil then add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the onions have softened. Add the tomatoes, then cook for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down. Add the broth/water/juice, return to boil. Add the hunks of bread, reserving a handful, and the basil leaves. Stir to combine, then remove from heat. Let the soup sit for 10 minutes to let it soak into the bread chunks.

Serve immediately, topped with some parmesan cheese and the reserved croutons.

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