Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Homemade Soups. Take Two: Grilled Tomato and Basil Soup
That's right. Grilled. My oven is busted. It's a little aggravating because a lot of my work depends on it, but it's also forcing me to be creative in my cooking techniques. In essence, a grill is an oven so I'm just going to go along with that and make my tomato soup via grill.
I grabbed about ten pounds of plum tomatoes, cut them in half and tossed them with kosher salt, black pepper, sugar, thyme, and oil. Because the tomatoes are out of season, they are solid as a rock and need some sugar to soften and sweeten them. After tossing them on the grill until they released some of their juices and the grates looked sadly speckled with black tomato seeds, I pulled them off and piled them on my sheet pan.
While they cooled, I prepped the base of the soup. I buried myself in the soothing scents of sauteed onions laced with fresh thyme and bay leaves. The grilled tomatoes were added, along with some crushed tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. The soup simmered until the flavors came together. I grabbed my hand mixer and buzzed up the mixture. Splattering red dotted my stove top and my chest. While I am obsessive about working cleanly, making a small mess here and there is also what cooking is about. I added some chicken broth to reach the consistency I wanted and let the soup simmer a little more.
I tasted it, checking for seasoning and depth of flavor. I always add more kosher salt, but the sweetness was there, thanks to the sugar and the anise flavored basil balanced with the acidity of the roasted tomatoes.
You can serve this soup in a variety of ways: with a simple green salad, a grilled cheese sandwich, or perhaps with a parmesan crostini. A delicate drizzle of aged balsamic or good olive oil (my favorite is Olio Santo) right on top before serving is a must.