June 07, 2017
As summer’s rain cascades against my kitchen window, tomato soup and garlic parmesan crostini’s are the perfect pick for dinner tonight. My nieces Blaine and Brittany say this is one of their favorite soups we make at Bailey’s. It takes no time to make – and you’ll love the rich flavor.
While my mom (who was from Boston) was an expert chowder maker, I don’t think she ever made us kids homemade tomato soup. Her tomato soup of choice was always a can of Campbell’s made with milk – and it always tasted good to us – especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. But if you want a soup that is so much better – homemade is definitely the way to go.
TOMATO SOUP VARIATIONS
Know too that I make a lot of different kinds of tomato soups and bisques but the recipe below is a really good one that can be made quick. Below are some variations to make my original soup recipe more complex overall – but for you soup lovers, begin with this recipe and play around later with what might tempt your taste buds.
- Add one cup each chopped celery (including the leaves) and carrots to the onion and shallot mixture – it gives it an extra dimension that is always good
- Start with a couple slices of chopped Applewood smoked bacon to begin the onion (vegetable) saute process is great as well
- Instead of using canned tomatoes, toss quartered whole tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a hot 450 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes
TOMATO SOUP RECIPE
- 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (Vidalia is perfect – but whatever you have in your pantry)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 stick salted butter
- 2 large 28 ounce cans crushed Hunts tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Melt butter in heavy bottom pot. Add onions, shallots, and red pepper flakes and sauté on medium low heat until very soft and mushy. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bring to a hot simmer on medium heat and cook down covered for 30 to 45 minutes – stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick on bottom. After soup is cooked put small batches in Cuisinart (food processor), or blender and blend until smooth. An immersion hand-held blender is perfect for blending this soup. Know too, that if you want texture in your soup – no blending is necessary.
Add heavy cream. Ladle hot soup into bowl(s) and top with 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil and parmesan garlic crostini.
GARLIC PARMESAN CROSTINI
You will find these crostini’s a “go-to” for many dishes. In addition to wonderful crostini’s, this mixture makes awesome garlic bread for just about any dish you can think of – especially Italian. Perfect on any type of bread like Cuban – just cut bread baguette in half and liberally spread mixture on top – broil or bake until golden brown.
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) room temperature salted butter
- 1 cup freshly grated fine Parmesan OR Romano cheese
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- A good French baguette (sliced ¼” thick on the bias)
Combine all ingredients (except for the bread) in a mixer and whip until well combined – about a minute or two. Liberally spread on baguette slices. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown.