I’ve been making a lot of meals on the stove top lately. It’s great for summer because I don’t have to heat up the entire kitchen via the oven just to have a hot meal. I also like to experiment and cooking on the stove top lends itself well to that. It’s much easier to add a pinch of this or a touch of that when the food is sizzling on the stove as opposed to hiding away in the oven.
Speaking of which, I almost never follow a recipe and I would encourage you not to either. Read through this really quick, search for some more tomato basil soup recipes, then do what makes sense to you. That’s how I tend to come up with things. Sometimes it’s awful. This time it was pretty good. I haven’t had a true recipe fail since I started this blog a couple of weeks ago, but it’s coming. I’ll be sure to share my recipe fail with you in all of its glory.
Tomato basil soup basically starts with cooking down vegetables (including tomato and basil of course) in some kind of liquid (here it’s chicken broth) then puree. I sauteed my aromatics (onion, celery, carrot, garlic) first to make sure they cooked thoroughly. If I had used fresh tomatoes, I would have put them in with the other aromatics to soften. The canned tomatoes were already soft enough.
When you add the liquid and the basil and let everything simmer, it gives the flavors a chance to meld. I chopped the vegetables so they would cook faster and more evenly, but, knowing I was going to puree the soup anyway, I saved myself a step and added the basil leaves whole. For the sake of a smoother soup, I wish I’d been more careful about taking out the basil stems though.
The trick with any meal is to have it hot all at the same time. To that end, the best time to cook the grilled cheese is while you are waiting for the soup to cool before pureeing.
The puree step is important because you want to be able to dip the grilled cheese sandwich in the soup. If it’s a bunch of chunks, the soup won’t stay on the sandwich. I used an immersion blender, but that made a small mess. You can see the little flecks of soup in the picture below. It also flung hot soup at me a few times during the process. If anyone has a safer way to use an immersion blender let me know because I don’t like the idea of transferring soup for pureeing. The other option is to transfer the soup in batches into a blender or food processor.
We eat with our eyes first so make the food pretty. I garnished the soup with a dollop of sour cream and basil cut in a chiffonade.
If you cook this recipe (or use it for inspiration 🙂 please comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you!