It predictably happens every season. There is at least one fruit/vegetable that I latch onto, clutching, clinging, stifling.
This year, this season, is the almighty tomato.
Perhaps it is the beautiful heirloom varieties that I am able to get my hands on at the Riverside Farmer’s Market with their array of colors that challenges the most vivid of rainbows.
Perhaps it is rooted in something deeper, like my Grandfather’s love of his garden. He had Polish, Heartland, and many other varieties of tomato. He gave me some of his seeds, that are planted in my own garden now. They have yet to produce fruit, but I am hopeful!
Grandpa’s garden was his baby, and I want nothing more than to continue that love of the Earth, and the soil, and the home-grown fruits and vegetables that are left to produce naturally. I want to find comfort in making his spirit proud.
When a dish is made with this deep love for family and gratefulness for the bounty of the earth, it turns out really, really great. That’s the one ingredient in this soup that cannot be bought.
- For The Soup
- 3 Pounds Tomatoes, halved
- 1 Medium Onion, sliced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more for spraying
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt, divided
- 2 Cups Vegetable Stock
- For The Grilled Cheese
- 4 Slices of Bread (I used two Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns, sliced in half)
- 2 Slices of Cheese (your choice, I used Pepper Jack)
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- Turn your oven on broiler mode, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Spray the sheet with olive oil, and arrange the tomatoes, cut side up. Spray the tomatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with a half teaspoon Sea Salt.
- Place the tomatoes underneath the broiler, and keep a watchful eye on them after 10 minutes. You want them to brown a bit on the tops, which took me about 30 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are fire-roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat, adding the olive oil and onions. Stir occasionally, making sure the onions don’t scorch. After about 25 minutes, they should be caramelized.
- Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Place the roasted tomatoes, onion mixture, basil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and vegetable stock into a blender, and blend until very smooth.
- Return the onion pan to medium-high heat.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread, place the cheese slice on one, and top with the other, butter facing outwards.
- Place the cheese sandwiches in the skillet, and cook unitl the bread is a nice golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- Remove to a cutting board to cool.
- Portion the soup into four bowls.
- When the sandwiches are cool enough to handle, slice into square croutons.
- Top the soup with the croutons and serve!