There’s a cruel irony when it comes to tomato soup: I want to use fresh tomatoes in it, but by the time sweater weather comes around and has me in a soup frame of mind, good local tomatoes are a thing of the past. That has previously left me with just two choices: Wait until next year, or use canned tomatoes.
The open-a-can route is an excellent option, really: Those tomatoes are super flavorful and a great timesaver. But Bobby Flay’s book has inspired another way to turn out-of-season tomatoes and a mere handful of other ingredients into something good enough to slurp by the spoonful. You roast them, along with a chopped sweet onion, fairly slowly, which concentrates them. Then you simmer them with white wine and herbs.
The topper is everything: Flay’s recipe includes instructions for frichi, the crisp Italian disks made from grated and baked cheese. His book, “Bobby Flay Fit” (Clarkson Potter, 2017), is a collection of lighter recipes, and this is his way to evoke the crunch and fat of a grilled cheese sandwich without the butter or bread.
To be fair, Flay instructs you to start this recipe by getting “your hands on great tomatoes.” I’ll keep that in mind when the local beauties are piling up at the farmers market next summer. It won’t be sweater weather, but I suppose I can always chill the soup down and call it gazpacho.
Tomato Soup With
This recipe works well with peak-season tomatoes, of course, but roasting offseason specimens can yield good results as well.
– Adapted from “Bobby Flay Fit: 200 Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle” by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter, 2017)
2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, hulled and halved if large (see headnote)
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1 cup dry white wine
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves, plus more, chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Toss together the tomatoes, onion, oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper on a rimmed baking sheet, until evenly coated. Roast (middle rack) until the tomatoes and onion are soft but not browned, about an hour. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan, add the wine and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced by half, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Add enough water to barely cover the tomatoes, and stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so that the liquid is barely bubbling; cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together and the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, make the “grilled cheese” frichi: Wipe clean the baking sheet you used for the tomatoes and onion, then line it with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Divide the grated cheese into four equal portions, and pile each on the sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Roast (middle rack) until flat, lightly golden brown all over and crisp at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a metal spatula to carefully transfer them to a plate to cool completely.
Once the soup has thickened, stir in the 1/4 cup of herbs. Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the soup until smooth. Increase the heat to medium; cook the soup for 5 minutes more. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
To serve, divide the soup among bowls, and top each portion with a frico and some of the chopped herbs.
• Nutrition per serving: 280 calories, 11 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 430 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar