13 May 2012

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup & Ossau-Iraty Grilled Cheese

Sun-dried tomatoes and olives.  These are two favorites of which these foodies are skeptics.  We know that they are very popular, flavorful little morsels.  However, their flavors are not our favorites.  Olives are especially avoided....we'll throw in an occasional kalamata, well chopped, but we typically substitute capers.  As for sun-dried tomatoes, most are either too oily or so over-dried, they almost taste burnt.  However, there is a little market nearby that makes wonderful sun-dried tomatoes in store which are distributed fresh.  They are bright, flavorful and neither oily nor burnt.  Whenever a recipe calls for sun-dried tomatoes, these are what we use.  

The one downside (for us at least) is that they are sold in a rather large container.  We can eat them little bits at a time, but almost never make it through a full container.  And being the frugal gal that I am, I hate to have food go to waste.  Thankfully, when browsing a great food site called honey & jam, I saw a delicious-looking roasted tomato soup.  She takes fresh tomatoes and roasts them to make a soup.  I figured, why not skip a step and use some already roasted tomatoes?  A little extra liquid is needed to rehydrate them a bit more, but it brings in that delicious rich and rosted flavor that are baked into those little suckers.  Pretty tasty.

You could easily make this soup without the half and half.  However, I think a little extra creaminess brings a bit of dreaminess (sorry....couldn't avoid it).  Seriously though, a delicious flavor.

And where there is tomato soup, there must be grilled cheese.  

But not any old grilled cheese.  I used some homemade garlic rosemary bread that I blogged about last week and my favorite cheese (of the moment), ossau-iraty.  This salty, strong and toasty cheese is perfect with the soup.  Perfect lunch for a rainy day.

I like to add some freshly chopped spinach to my tomato soup.  Delicious.

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup (6 small servings)
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 c sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 c tomatoes, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 4 1/2 - 5 c vegetable broth (depending on how thick you like your soup)
  • 1/2 c + 1 tbs fat free half & half
Place a large, thick bottomed pan on a burner and turn heat to medium.  Add the oil.  When hot, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes until lightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Then add sun-dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil and broth.  Stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover, allowing soup to simmer for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are rehydrated.  Transfer into blender and add half & half.  Process until smooth.  Top with an additional half & half, if desired.  

Ossau-Iraty Grilled Cheese (3 mini sandwiches)
  • 6 slices baguette
  • 3 slices ossau-iraty or your favorite gourmet cheese
  • smart balance light or butter
You can make this on a panini press or a grill pan.  Lightly butter the bread and place it on your grilling surface.  Toast lightly.  Remove toasted bread and assemble sandwiches.  Place back on the grilling surface and continue to toast until cheese is melty.  Forget the spoon....use a your mini sandwich instead!

No comments:

Post a Comment