For Tomato Season: Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

tomatosoup.jpgHomemade tomato soup is good, but roasted tomato soup is even better. With the abundance of tomatoes right now in the markets, this makes great use of all those tomatoes and may be the best tomato soup you will ever have.

This method calls for roasting the tomatoes, along with some whole garlic, before making the soup. Roasting the tomatoes concentrates their flavor and adds a depth to the soup that you would not have otherwise.

I used beautiful San Marzano tomatoes for this soup because a vendor at my farmer's market had them. Use whatever nice, ripe tomatoes you have. Any Roma or plum tomato is a good choice.

The parmesan crisps, sometimes called fricos, are a favorite in our household and we use them to accompany salads sometimes (or a glass of Prosecco). These lacy wafers make the absolute perfect flavor compliment to this soup. They are surprisingly easy to make - they only have one ingredient - and fast, too. They only take about 6 to 8 minutes in the oven. Once you make these, you will find all kinds of uses for them. You can even crumble them up and add them to your salad, which we saw Naomi Pomeroy do when we had dinner at Beast. Some recipes call for a little flour added to the cheese, but I make them like Thomas Keller does - without flour. When warm, they can even be placed into egg cartons to mold them into little cups, cooled and filled with whatever you like as little appetizers.

This soup can be made a day ahead, cooled, refrigerated and then gently reheated.


Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps
adapted from Gourmet

For Soup:
4 pounds tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream

For Parmesan Crisps:
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated on large holes of box grater
ground black pepper

Make Soup:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, on a large baking sheet lined with heavy duty aluminum foil (makes for easier clean up). Add unpeeled garlic to tomatoes. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the olive oil all over the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes for 1 hour, let tomatoes cool for a little while and then peel garlic.

Cook onion, oregano and sugar in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a very heavy pot over medium heat, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic and stock and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Place an immersion blender into the pot and puree the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender (promise yourself to go buy one), pour the soup into a regular blender and puree. You may have to do this in batches, if you use a regular blender. Don't skip this step of pureeing the soup - the soup will have a richer flavor, if you some of the seeds and skins get pureed. Force pureed soup through a strainer(or use a food mill - it's easier) to remove remaining skins and seeds. Pour strained soup into a small clean pot, stir in cream and taste for salt and pepper. Simmer just a couple of minutes to reheat.

Ladle soup into bowls and place a parmesan crisp on top. Serve another crisp on the side.

crisps.jpgMake Parmesan Crisps:
(these can be made a couple of days ahead and stored in an airtight container. Layer crisps with wax paper.)
Makes 8 crisps
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat. You can use parchment paper, if you do not have a Silpat. Take a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter and place about 2 tablespoons of the cheese into the cutter. Press down a little on the cheese, to shape. Gently remove cutter. Repeat until you have made 8 mounds of cheese. If you like, add a little pinch of black pepper on top of each one. Bake for about 7-8 minutes, just until set and before they start to turn golden. Remove from oven, let cool on pan for a few minutes. They will firm up as they cool. Gently lift off with a spatula.


Elaine McCardel shares her love fresh, homemade Italian cooking and food photography on her blog The Italian Dish.