When I was in kindergarten, (you know back when it was half a day), I just couldn’t wait to get home for lunch. My mom would tell you I loved my Campbell’s Tomato soup with an American grilled cheese sandwich Monday through Friday. Like clockwork she knew what I wanted. I still love grilled cheese and tomato soup, only now I like them a little more grown up.
Here is my amped up version of my childhood favorites!
3 pounds of plum tomatoes, cut into quarters (Reserve one for sandwiches)
2 sweet onions
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
5 large cloves of garlic unpeeled
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup gruyere cheese
3/4 cups pale, dry sherry
Toss the tomatoes, onions and seasoning in a bowl then pour onto a roasting pan and add 5 cloves of garlic to the center (still in their skin). Add two healthy pinches of salt and coarsely ground pepper to desired liking. Roast the tomatoes and onions on low broil. Broil on low and slow until they are roasted thoroughly, about 25 minutes. If your oven only has one setting for broil, place on lowest shelf away from direct heat. Cool slightly and remove the five cloves from center. The skin will just pull right off, then blend all the roasted vegetables and garlic in a blender until creamy and emulsified. Place puree in a medium size pot and heat to medium temperature. Add one cup of cream, 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese and stir until the cream cheese is without lumps, then add 1/2 cup gruyere cheese and stir until melted into soup, (the cheese will separate if the soup is too hot, so keep it at medium to medium low). Add sherry and stir for one minute more. Pour into desired serving dishes and top with some more cheese, (or a spot of herb butter I gave you in an earlier post).
Fried Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich
4 slices rosemary garlic bread
1 large plum tomato cut into 4 thick slices (green tomatoes when in season are awesome with this dish, also you can use yellow squash in the same way)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup gruyere cheese shredded
2 tsp mayonnaise
2 Tbs butter
Mix flour, salt and pepper on one plate, mix buttermilk with egg on another plate. Dredge tomatoes one at a time in flour then egg/buttermilk mixture and back to flour mixture. ( I always use my right hand for dry and my left hand for wet. You would be surprised how much cleaner it is on your hands). Fry the tomatoes in olive in a hot cast iron skillet until golden brown and set on a paper towel to rest. Next lay out your bread on a cutting board and spread with mayonnaise. Add shredded gruyere cheese evenly to all 4 slices. Top one side of two pieces of bread with 2 slices of fried tomatoes. Add butter to iron skillet to melt. Place bread without tomatoes on slices with tomatoes and move to iron skillet. Grill turning once till sides are golden and cheese is oozing.
If you’re a dipper, dip sandwich into soup!