Tomato Basil Soup with Fried Cheese
I never really gave that designation much thought until, when introducing my then fiance to my homeland, I boasted that not only was the Motorcycle Hall of Fame just down the road (big whoop right there) but also the beautiful, famous, culinary delight known as the tomato apparently came into existence right there in my backyard.
He about died laughing.
“What in the world does that even mean? ‘The Birthplace of the Tomato’?! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!”
It’s true I had a bit of a ‘tude while he sat there disrespecting the little town I had so much history invested in. But his question was a valid one… and I didn’t know the answer… then.
I do now, though, and if you’re interested in this random bit of history you can read more about the birthplace of the tomato here. Turns out the official state fruit of Ohio is the tomato, too.
Did you know states even had an official fruit? Yah, neither did I.
Even if you aren’t an obscure history buff, chances are you know what a tomato is. And maybe you even have your own childhood memories of warm tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. Yum!
With the plethora of tomatoes and basil spilling out from my garden in the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to get creative with how to use and preserve them. And soup is a popular method that always comes to mind.
Hands down this soup is a new family favorite way for eating the plump red fruits.
Not only is it a breeze to make but the flavor is like no other tomato soup I’ve ever tasted. It puts the “Mmm Mmm Good” canned version to shame.
Tomatoes, especially the home-grown variety, carry abundant amounts of lycopene, an antioxidant suggested to prevent prostate cancer and significantly reduce the occurrence of breast, head and neck cancers.
Furthermore, lycopene has been shown to increase the skin’s ability to protect itself from harmful UV rays by 33 percent, the equivalent of a low dose of sunscreen.
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5 fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cups bone broth
- 1 T. dried nettle leaves
- 1 T. dried dandelion leaves
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- dash cayanne
- 3 T. arrowroot powder
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- half and half, optional
- 1 cup of shredded cheese, preferably a mix of Parmesan and Cheddar
- 1. Place olive oil and onions into a stockpot and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.
- 2. Add garlic, tomatoes, broth, herbs and spices to the pot and bring to a boil.
- 3. Reduce heat and allow the mixture to simmer until the tomatoes soften, about 15 minutes.
- 4. Remove a small amount (1/2 cup) of broth to a bowl and add the arrowroot powder. Mix well and return to the stockpot.
- 5. Add basil, balsamic vinegar and optional half and half to the stockpot.
- 6. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the mixture until the desired consistency is reached. Serve with fried cheese.
- 1. Place a skillet over medium heat until hot.
- 2. Using your fingers, carefully place 2 T. of shredded cheese onto the skillet in the shape of a disc.
- 3. Allow the cheese to melt, bubble and for most of the liquid to evaporate - approx 3 minutes.
- 4. Once the edges brown and begin to lift up from the skillet, carefully flip the cheese crisp over and cook for 1 minute more.
- 5. Remove to a sheet of parchment paper to cool
- For ease of preparation, I do not remove the skins from my tomatoes prior to using. The immersion blender does a decent job of pureeing them for me, but depending on the variety of tomato you are using, it may be preferable to remove the skins. To do so, score the bottom of each of your whole tomatoes in a criss-cross fashion. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and gently place the tomatoes into the water for 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water to cool, and then peel.
This post has been shared on: Whole Foods Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Welcome Home Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Natural Living LinkUp, Natural Living Monday, Make Your Own Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Fat Tuesdays, Melt-in-your-mouth Monday.