Tomato Soup & Flatbread
Minnesota is butt-ugly in March, there’s just no other way to say it. Mud-covered ice just sucks, although fog-covered snirt bites too. (I love using those words. That felt good.)
Yeah, it’s time for some color. Time to buy a bunch of tulips (yellow!), time to make tomato soup (red!). Pretty and warm, tomato soup is almost cliche comfort, but who cares? It’s cliche because it works. And because it’s delicious, especially with a splash of cream. This version includes roasted tomatoes which gives a big flavor boost.
I like it with this easy flatbread, little more than a quick batter poured over olive oil, sliced onions, and rosemary, then baked until crisp at the edges. It smells like summer, and right now, that means a lot.
Burn your fingers eating it hot out of the oven. Burn your tongue on hot, pretty soup. Cool it all off with a glass of wine. Do not look out the window. Happiness.
Homemade Tomato Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Michael Chiarello
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. chopped basil leaves
1/2 c. heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices. Put the tomatoes in a medium bowl, toss with 1/4 c. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast until caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaves, and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add basil and cream. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth.
Easy Whole Grain Flatbread
Adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman
1 c. whole wheat, cornmeal, or chickpea flour (Stephanie’s note: I use 1/2 c. whole wheat, 1/2 c. chickpea)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. water
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
Put the flour into a bowl; add salt; then slowly add water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Cover with a towel, and let sit while oven heats, or as long as 12 hours. The batter should be about the consistency of thin pancake batter.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the oil in a 12-inch skillet and scatter the onion and rosemary over the oil. Set the pan in the heated oven and wait a couple of minutes for the oil to get hot but not smoking; the oil is ready when you just start to smell it. Carefully remove the pan; then pour in the batter, and return the skillet to the oven. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the flatbread is well browned, firm, and crisp around the edges. (It will release easily from the pan when it’s done.) Let it rest for a couple minutes before cutting it into wedges or squares.