words and images: James Steufix
For the Soup
- 15 ripe red tomatoes, medium-sized
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, julienned
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced as thin as possible
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Sherry vinegar, to taste
Set broiler on high. Slice tomatoes in half, remove any stems that may still be attached. Toss halved tomatoes with ¼ cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place tomatoes cut-side-down on baking sheet and place under broiler until the skin blisters and browns. Remove from oven, set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine the other ¼ cup olive oil, julienned onion, and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until the onion becomes translucent.
Add charred tomatoes, thyme sprig, and chicken stock. Simmer for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are thoroughly cooked and breaking down.
Strain tomato/onion/garlic mixture and remove thyme sprig. Be sure to reserve the cooking liquid. Working in batches, puree the solids and heavy cream in a blender until smooth. Add more soup liquid as necessary to make soup the consistency you prefer—if you like it thicker, add less liquid, if you prefer a thinner soup, use more. Return each blended batch to a single skillet and heat on low until completely mixed. Add salt, pepper and sherry vinegar to taste.
For the Grilled Cheese
- 12 slices fontal, or other cheese that melts well
- 12 slices of your favorite bread
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place cheese slices in between bread slices. Heat butter in the bottom of a nonstick skillet until it is completely melted and bubbling. Place sandwich in pan and toast until brown on one side, add a little more butter to the pan, and toast on other side. Transfer to the oven and allow cheese to melt completely.