Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tom's Tasty Tomato Soup With Brown Butter Croutons

I went out with the ladies tonight, and there is a chill in the air, so I made this soup I heard about on NPR's The Splendid Table.  I loved what they were doing on the show; they asked chefs to give them three must know recipes.  This one caught my attention for a couple of reasons.  The chef recommended that, since you need a lot of tomatoes for this, buy all the brands at the supermarket and do a taste test and see which product is the best tasting.  I did this tonight and was very surprised to find that the expensive can was my least favorite!  I also liked his reasons for having this dish as a top three, was his mom would often give him tomato soup with a grilled cheese (canned soup, wonder bread), and he took that nostalgic dish and added to it by making it this way, and he hopes his kids will add to it too.  I was also intrigued by how fast it seemed to come together!  I made it in about 25 minutes, but 20 of it, I spent getting ready to go out;).  It is only slightly longer than heating a can on the stove, close to equal on cost, a million times better, and infinitely healthier for you than the canned!  Oh and it is vegetarian.  To me, that all adds up to make this a magical dish!  I am not including the croutons in this formula because I bought this fancy roast garlic Tuscan loaf, but I think even with a decent bread, it would be close in cost. per person, to the condensed slop.  My son put it in his favorite file and I am adding it to his college cookbook.  Average rating for the family, 4.5

Tom's Tasty Tomato Soup With Brown Butter Croutons

1 T  unsalted butter
1 T  olive oil
1    medium onion,thinly sliced
3    garlic cloves,smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
5 c  canned whole tomatoes in juice
1 c  water
2/3 c  heavy cream
2 t  kosher salt,plus more as needed
1/4 t  freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
1/4 t  crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t  celery seed
1/4 t  dried oregano or
1/2 t  finely chopped fresh oregano
1 T  sugar
Brown Butter Croutons
3 T  unsalted butter
4 sl european-style rustic bread crusts removed, cut into 3 /4- to 1- inch cubes
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and saut the
onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add
the tomatoes, water, cream, salt, red pepper flakes, celery seed,
oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer
and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and puree in batches in the container of a
blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning
to taste with more salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, to make the brown butter croutons, preheat the oven to
350F. Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat and cook,
stirring often, until the butter is golden brown and aromatic, about 3
minutes after the butter melts. Remove from the heat. Put the bread
cubes in a bowl and pour the brown butter over them, tossing to coat.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread the bread
cubes on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake until the
croutons are toasted and golden, about 20 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven.
4. Serve the soup hot, garnished with the croutons

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