The first meals we had in our new house were from local takeout spots (The Real Deal, Christo's Pizza, The Red-Eyed Pig, a Chinese place we won't try again) and those prepared, transported, and cooked by my mom. It wasn't until December 29, a week after we moved in, that I actually cooked. It was a snowy evening, and the first meal I made was the ultimate comfort food: tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
It wasn't until the beginning of December, at my friend Molly's birthday party, that we discovered that Jeff actually likes tomato soup -- or at least this particular one. Molly's friend Jess had made the tomato and sourdough soup from Jerusalem, a very tomatoey, creamless tomato soup, enhanced with cilantro and cumin. She topped it with toasted pumpkin seeds. After a few apprehensive bites, Jeff realized he really liked the soup, and he'd been asking me to make it from that moment on.
My brother gave me Jerusalem for Christmas, and I was only too eager to make that soup. I ended up dropping the cilantro and cumin and putting more of an Italian spin on the soup, solely because the grocery store we went to didn't have any cilantro. The flavor was obviously much different from that of the original, but it shows how versatile this soup can be.
The soup gave me an excuse not only to cook from my new cookbook but also to break out my (er, our) immersion blender, one of the very first wedding gifts we received. I probably overblitzed the soup a little, getting used to the strength of the blender, so it ended up being slightly smoother than it's meant to be, but it was just the right consistency for dipping chunks of grilled cheese in.
Tomato And Sourdough Soup (adapted from Jerusalem and Sweet Amandine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped (or snipped with kitchen scissors)
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and pepper
1 slice sourdough bread, cut or torn into chunks
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
Add broth, whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.
Bring soup to gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, adding the bread chunks halfway through cooking.
Add basil and blitz with an immersion blender.
Serve, topped with basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Do you like tomato soup?