Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Roasted Tomato Soup with “Grilled Cheese” -- #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Who doesn’t love tomato soup? I think this is the third variation I’ve posted, and my blog sisters seem to share the love. Smooth and creamy, rich and chunky, sparked with tomato juice, spiced with nutmeg, ginger, Italian herbs, a handful of parsley or cilantro—the flavor combinations abound, and I’ve never met one I didn’t like.

This variation is full of flavor. Roasting the tomatoes and onion at a low, slow heat brings out their sweetness. And the “grilled cheese”—more accurately, baked cheese, or a frico—is the perfect light touch. Our local Italian restaurant serves a Parmesan version Mr. Right calls “Parmesan cookies.” These are every bit as good. Serve on top or on the side and enjoy the crunch, or break off bits to soak up the goodness.

I found this recipe in the Washington Post, reprinted from Bobby Flay Fit: 200 Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle, a collection of lighter recipes by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter, 2017). The original recipe made 4 large cheese fricos; we think 8 smaller cookies a better choice. If you don’t have an immersion or stick blender, known in our house as the whizzy-uppy thing, you could use a standard blender, but of course, be careful with the hot liquid.

Add a salad and a glass of Chardonnay and you’ve got a lovely, light dinner for a chilly night.

Roasted Tomato Soup with “Grilled Cheese”

2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, hulled and halved if large (we used Romas)
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1 cup dry white wine
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely grated
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves, plus more, chopped, for garnish (we used parsley; a mix would also be nice)
 Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Toss together the tomatoes, onion, oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper on a rimmed baking sheet, until evenly coated. Roast (middle rack) until the tomatoes and onion are soft but not browned, about an hour. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan, add the wine and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced by half, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Add enough water to barely cover the tomatoes, and stir in the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so that the liquid is barely bubbling; cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together and the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, make the “grilled cheese” frichi: Wipe clean the baking sheet you used for the tomatoes and onion, then line it with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Divide the grated cheese into eight equal portions, and pile each on the sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Roast (middle rack) until flat, lightly golden brown all over and crisp at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a metal spatula to carefully transfer them to a plate to cool completely.

Once the soup has thickened, stir in the ¼ cup of herbs. Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the soup until smooth. Increase the heat to medium; cook the soup for 5 minutes more. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, as needed.

To serve, divide the soup among bowls, and top each portion with a frico and some of the chopped herbs.

Serves 4.

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink, 2018, available for pre-order now):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. I must be a mutant, because my mother dished up a lot of Campbell's Tomato Soup when I was young, and I hated the stuff (and raw tomatoes made me gag). But your "grilled cheese" looks terrific, and I can think of lots of uses for it.

    1. Funny how some of those early "yucks" stay with us, isn't it? Maybe it's time to give tomato soup another try!

    2. Sheila, what about tomato sauces?

  2. This sounds tummy yummy to me!
    And the cheese crispies are to die for!

  3. Yum! Do you peel the tomatoes at some point in the process?

    1. No. The skins soften beautifully in the roasting process, and they chopped up nicely in the blending. Skins can sometimes come loose and be unappetizing, but that wasn't a problem with this recipe.

  4. Wow...a comfort-food junkie's dream dish. I was all ready to give it a try until I saw the white wine. Kathy can't have wine (we think it's a migraine trigger), so I'll have to contemplate alternatives. Other than that, this sounds terrific!

    1. Graham Kerr, aka The Galloping Gourmet, found grape juice worked as a wine substitute. For white wine just use white grape juice. For red use red juice with some unsweetened tea added.

    2. Bummer. I've heard of red wine as a trigger, but wasn't aware that white could have the same effect. The alcohol cooks off, of course, so I'm curious what in wine causes the problem.

  5. This sounds delicious! I love tomato soup and this is a right fancy one. I may have to give it a try this cold winter!