Spicy Tomato Soup


BL Tomato Soup

We threw an impromptu birthday dinner for my son and some friends, and I thought tomato soup and grilled cheese fit the bill. This is Barbara Lynch’s recipe from her beautiful Stir Cookbook. The soup gets better as the flavors meld, so I always increase the recipe and we devour the leftovers. Although the crème fraîche is optional, I strongly recommend it. The flavor is similar to a mild sour cream and completes the dish. You can make your own by adding a small amount of buttermilk to sour cream or heavy cream. Just a dollop goes a long way. For this hungry crowd, I paired the soup with simple grilled cheese sandwiches on fresh ciabatta bread, and a hearty green salad.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans plum tomatoes ( I like the San Marzano brand)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 teaspoons crème fraîche (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 7-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, and let cool briefly before pureeing the soup in a food processor or a blender. Blend the soup in batches, and only fill the blender or food processor halfway for each batch. Be careful processing hot soup as the steam will need to escape. Pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids with a ladle. Add the pureed soup back to the saucepan and warm over on medium-low heat. Season to taste. Garnish with crème fraîche and serve. Serves 6


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