Here's a way to eat grilled cheese and tomato soup in today's sodium-paranoid world. Make the soup, and don't make the sandwich.
Then wonder if life is worth living.
I've seen this idea on TV shows, Hotel menus, the internet and so I in no way claim to be anything or anyone but a girl who decided to try it out. The base, or 'soup' is the best thing I've made with my homegrown produce this summer. And versatile. And completely (until you dress it up) Vegan, not to mention dairy and gluten-free (again, until you add the cheese and croutons). So there's that. But what is even better, getting back to it being versatile, is that you can use it as a killer pasta sauce in a hot minute.
Today though, we're talking about soup. A creamy, thick soup that tastes like summer. You slush the tomatoes up with garlic-scented oil, simmer until ploppy and then whizz for an airy, velveteen bowl of hot Lycopene goodness I decided to make a proper meal out of the whole shebang when I couldn't stop sneaking sips as it waited for hot pasta.
So if you've got a glut of tomatoes, make this up today. There's no real recipe, just scale up or down depending on the amount of tomatoes you're trying to purge. And it is so good, that it is never too hot outside to make and enjoy.
Deconstructed Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Tomato Base Recipe
5 heaping cups washed and cored tomato chunks (I used a mix of Black Plum, San Marzano, Roma and Marmande, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
In a large, non-reactive pot heat a decent drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add the garlic and lower the heat, stirring with a wooden spoon - do not let the garlic burn or toast too much. After a minute or two, dump in the tomatoes and stir, using the back of the spoon to smash the fruit gently. Liquid should begin to exude. Bring to a mild, ploppy simmer and cook for ten minutes - the pulp and flesh should liquefy while the skins detach.
One you have something that looks nice and sauce-y, add the salt and sugar to taste - this will depend on your personal preferences and how sweet your tomatoes are. Stir, heat for another couple of minutes and then allow to cool until lukewarm. Use an immersion blender, food mill, food processor or stand blender to puree the soup until smooth. Pour back into the pot, and re-heat gently. Serve as soup. OR - stay tuned to see what else you can do with it.
But if you're going to slurp it up, top with small rounds of buttered and grilled sourdough bread - I used a small cutter, but you can also cut into strips or cubes. Heat a bit of olive oil and butter in a skillet and toast until golden.
If you've got chives and English Cheddar on hand, what could be better? A sprinkle of black pepper. There. Done. DONE.
Not really! Tomorrow, see how this base can be used for other applications
Like Anointing the sick.