Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches For Grownups
The kid in almost all of us smiles at the thought of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Here is a grown up version of that all time favorite. Remember Cooking Rule #1. Cooked food will be no better than the ingredients used to make it.
- We all know that milk is white, right? So what makes Kraft American cheddar pumpkin colored? The pulp from annatto seed that is used to make red and yellow food coloring also is used to color cheddar cheese, margarine and butter. I wonder why the natural white wasn’t good enough.
- Grated cheese melts quicker in grilled sandwiches than sliced cheese does.
- Most major American and Italian producers of canned tomatoes pick the fruit when it is perfectly ripe and processes it within hours. Canned tomatoes are wonderful for cooked tomato soup.
Powdered Annatto is a common spice in East Indian, Moroccan and Caribbean foods as well.
European cheddars, American artisan cheddars and some aged extra sharp cheddars from big U.S. cheese processors are their natural milk color. Do you think one day we will see multi colored pre wrapped and sliced cheese? Scary.
1 can (28oz.) diced tomatoes in puree
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp. dried basil leaves or ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Put all ingredients but oil into a saucepan and bring to a steady simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
To Serve. Ladle soup into preheated soup bowls, drizzle oil in the center of each portion and garnish with fresh parsley.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
8 slices fresh, rustic Italian style artisan bread (sliced ¾” thick)
8 oz. high quality cheese,* grated. (Fontina, Provolone, Aged Gouda or Cheddar)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs. minced fresh Italian parsley
- Divide cheese among four of the bread slices and top the cheese with another slice to make 4 sandwiches. Brush the top slices with oil. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet to medium temperature and spread olive oil evenly. Place sandwiches in pan oil side up, and grill until golden brown. Turn and grill, pressing the tops gently with the flat side of a spatula, and cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is grilled to a golden brown.
- Take the sandwiches out of the pan and turn them over onto a cutting board. Cut in half and serve immediately with the hot soup.
*There are many world-class artisan cheeses made in America. Some of the very best come from Washington State. The cheese used in this recipe, from Estrella Family Creamery in Montesano WA., is Weebles, an Italian Provolone style made from their cows’ milk and then smoked over alder wood that comes from the Estrella property. It is one of the finest Provolone style cheeses available.