Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 237 - Creamy Tomato Soup and Herbed Croutons

Help! I'm running out of vegetarian soups to make for Marcy! I'm going to have to start serving her meat dishes! :-)

Creamy Tomato Soup (p. 69)

I don't think I've ever eaten plain tomato soup before. Yes, I've had it as the base for Manhattan Clam Chowder or Minestrone, but plain? No. I think I've had a lifelong aversion to thin tomato liquids, i.e. juice and soup. However, something amazing happened earlier this year, after having made a recipe from the book that called for tomato juice. (I think it was the grilling sauce recipe.) I had a mostly full bottle of tomato juice in my refrigerator, and one day, I poured myself a glass. And I liked it! So I was ready to try this soup with an open mind.

This is pretty much the easiest soup of them all. It's the kind of thing you could probably make at any time with no notice. Most people have a can of tomatoes lying around, and the only other things you need are an onion and some garlic.

Martha indicates that you can use either canned or fresh tomatoes here, but it seems as if even Martha thinks canned tomatoes are the way to go, in that she mentions them first. This is unlike Martha's typical M.O., where she urges you to go the extra mile with fresh ingredients.

Because of all the liquid in the canned tomatoes, not to mention the stock or water you've also added, this is a thinner soup than most. I reserved more than a cup of liquid before pureeing, and the consistency was still quite thin without adding any liquid back.

I didn't finish with the optional cream, because I know Marcy prefers things without. I would say that the soup tasted pretty decent, if a bit undersalted. It had that tomatoey-acid thing, which is not my favorite, but the onion/garlic flavors softened that a bit. I think I might prefer it with the cream, but my guess is that that would really change the whole character of the soup. And I was glad to taste it unadulterated.

This is a nice option for a quick, last-minute, colorful, flavorful soup.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Herbed Croutons (p. 75)

Martha suggests these as a perfect garnish for the tomato soup, and she's right. By the way, it's really easy to make croutons, and they're SO much better than those horrible packaged ones, which are either too greasy or overly seasoned with chemical-tasting flavorings.

I decrusted and cubed up some nice Italian bread (Martha says to use white sandwich bread, but this Italian bread worked just fine), tossed the cubes in melted butted (I also added a little of my homemade basil oil), and baked them until golden. Then, I tossed them in some chopped basil, a perfect flavor match for the tomato soup.

The great thing about the croutons in this soup was the range of textures they provided. Crunchy for the first few bites, the croutons that hung out in the soup for a while puffed up and became fluffy, doughy chunks that reminded me of a Tuscan bread soup. Mmmm.

FYI, I made those basil oil and mozzarella crostini one last time. It just seemed like too good a match for this meal.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Until we eat again....

No comments:

Post a Comment