Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Parsley Croûtons
Adapted from Tomatoes, A Country Garden Cookbook
2 pounds large ripe tomatoes
Olive oil to coat tomatoes
1 small carrot
1 small fennel bulb
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6 sprigs fresh tarragon
6 sprigs fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
12 thin slices baguette
Olive oil to generously coat both sides of each piece of baguette
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
Teleme cheese (or Parmesan)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half, seed them and coat with olive oil. Place tomatoes in a shallow baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until the skins begin to darken and blister.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the skins and reserve pulp and all the juices.
Coarsely chop shallots, carrot and fennel bulb. Melt butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté the vegetables until they are very soft.
Add chicken stock and sprigs of both fresh parsley and fresh tarragon. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
While this is cooking make the croûtons.
Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Slice the bread into 12 thin slices, brushing each side generously with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Rub one side of the bread with garlic and place a dollop of Teleme cheese or a sprinkle of Parmesan on top. Sprinkle with parsley and bake until brown.
Once the soup is done simmering, remove the herb sprigs and add the reserved tomato pulp and tomato juices. Puree the soup in several batches in a blender. I tried using an immersion blender but it was unable to get the soup to the proper consistency.
Return soup to the pan and stir in heavy cream, heating until warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.
Ladle soup into warm bowls and float parsley croûtons on top of each bowl.