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ROASTED TOMATO SOUP WITH GARLIC CROUTONS

Serves 6

18 plum tomatoes

2 1/4 teaspoons black pepper

1 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary

3 large garlic cloves minced

1/2 cup olive oil plus extra

3 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided

2 tablespoons fresh basil

Garlic Croutons

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups bread cubes ( 1/2-inch dice), made from French bread, crusts included

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

Preheat oven to 375. Oil a large baking sheet generously.

Halve tomatoes lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Let drain.

In a large bowl, mix pepper, salt, rosemary, garlic and 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk to blend. Add tomatoes and toss well. Marinate for 15 minutes.

Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining oil mixture over them. Roast until tomatoes are softened and browned around the edges, about 50-60 minutes. Place half the tomatoes in a food processor. Pour in 1 cup stock and pulse until pureed.

Coarsely chop remaining tomatoes. In a soup pot, combine the chopped and pureed tomatoes and remaining stock and bring just to a simmer. Season with salt.

For the croutons, melt the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until bread is golden and crisp. Garnish each serving with basil and croutons.

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