As a kid, I wasn’t really into tomatoes. I basically liked ketchup. I also enjoyed dipping my grilled cheese sandwich into a warm bowl of tomato soup. I didn’t actually eat the tomato soup on its own, but I always had to have it with my grilled cheese. At least I got part of it right back then.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese is a classic comfort food. It always reminds me of Minnesota snow days, which were the happiest days of all when I was growing up. I remember listening to the radio early in the morning with my little brother (Lee) and hoping that our school was on the list of cancellations. When we heard our school on the list, we would immediately throw on our snowsuits, grab our sleds and head out to meet our neighborhood friends. After a few hours of sledding, we were starving. Grilled cheese with tomato soup was a frequent go-to and while we wolfed them down, we’d watch The Price is Right with Bob Barker followed by Young and the Restless so we could learn the latest scandal between Victor Newman and Jack Abbott.
Anyway, when I realized I haven’t shared this recipe combination for the blog yet, I knew it would be the perfect comfort food to help start off the week. One of my favorite things to do with tomatoes is to roast them. It enhances the flavors for this soup and the flavor of the basil shines through so perfectly. I also add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. It’s SO good. I use a couple of different cheeses for my grilled cheese sandwiches, but this recipe is flexible, so use the cheeses of your choice. Just be sure to get really, really good bread.
ROASTED TOMATO BASIL SOUP AND GRILLED CHEESE
4 slices of good quality bread from the bakery section of your grocery store
Note: I used a seeded sourdough.
2 slices of muenster cheese
2 slices of gouda cheese
2 slices of cheddar cheese
Note: You can use whatever cheeses you’d like.
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch of thyme
1. Melt your butter in a sauce pan with your garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme.
2. Lightly simmer, careful not to burn the garlic, while you prepare your sandwiches.
3. Lay your slices of bread out and spread ½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard onto each slice
4. On two of the slices of bread, add one slice of cheddar cheese, one slice of muenster cheese, and one slice of gouda cheese.
5. Place the other slice of bread on top of the cheese. The sides with the Dijon mustard should be touching the cheese.
6. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter onto the top and bottom of both sandwiches until all the butter is gone
7. Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
8. Cook your sandwiches until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted.
ROASTED TOMATO BASIL SOUP
2 1/4 lbs Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 1/4 lbs cherry tomatoes, halved
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper
8 garlic cloves, left whole
2 small yellow onions, sliced
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
4-6 cups vegetable broth
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet with 3 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper.
Note: Place Roma tomato halves cut side upright.
3. Place onion slices and garlic cloves on a rimmed baking sheet and mix with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Place baking sheets in the oven and roast the onion and garlic for 20 minutes.
Note: Keep an eye on the onions and garlic to be sure they don’t burn.
5. Roast the tomatoes for 40 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and pull the peel from the tomatoes.
7. Pour the onions, garlic and peeled tomatoes into a dutch oven pot.
8. Add 4 cups of vegetable broth and the basil.
9. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.
10. Add additional vegetable broth, if needed.
11. Using a Vitamix or immersion blender, blend until smooth.
12. Garnish with additional basil and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
Note: I made this one day early and let it chill overnight in the fridge and the flavors were amazing the next day.
All images © Regan Baroni 2016.