I spent my last Friday night at home with Scott Bobleo, fantisizing about classic cars we'll probably never own, and cruising the internet for geeky memes. Later, we had a tickle fight, ate noodles, and went to bed. It's funny how something so normal as a quite evening with your husband can be filled with so many unique little moments. Sure, it's boring, but it's a special blend of boring that is exclusively yours.
Tomato soup is kind of like that. Everyone makes this classic recipe with their own method, peppering it with special ingredients, and serving it up with an equally original side dish. Some go for salad, others prefer grilled cheese or sesame breadsticks. In China they are likely to stick a catfish in there.
Sure, there is always the basic Campbell's style straight tomato, but who wants that? That's like a quiet evening at home spent detailing a coffee-maker. In other words, Snores-ville. Live a little. Put some cheese on it. Kick the heat up a little with some hot pepper. Try something new!
I like to experiment with my tomato soup. Sometimes I go Chinese, adding ginger, garlic, and red chile. Other times I sprinkle in some chipotle pepper and avocado. Today, my inspiration was dill. I saw a photo recently picturing a sprig of dill sitting on a bowl of rich, red soup. Since then, the combination of dill and tomato has been haunting my dreams. It gives the soup a really bright, fresh flavor. To me, it seems like the flavor of dill picks up on the greener notes in the tomato, highlighting it's herbaceous nature. Have you ever smelled a tomato leaf? If you pay close attention, you'll notice that the same smell is present in the fruit of the tomato, but it's a lot more subtle.
The other reason I was so keen to whip up a hearty pot of tomato bisque is the hunk of bread you see sticking out of my bowl. Encrusted with sesame, and unfortunately flat, my second loaf of homemade sourdough was incredibly flavorful, but sort of hard to eat. That tasty tooth-breaker needed something to soak in. It turns out that the bread's flatness was due to my not forming the boule properly. I was supposed to pull the bread dough apart, then tuck the edges underneath the ball in a tight pinch. Forgetting that important step, I just plopped the dough onto a plate and waited to see what happened next. Woops.
Oh well. There will be more sourdough. No doubt, there will be more soup too. By the way, this was great with a side of crusty bread, but in a perfect world I would serve this stuff up with a cucumber, red onion, and cream cheese sandwich. I actually ransacked my fridge thinking I could make one this afternoon. Alas, cream cheese is not something I keep regularly stocked.
Tomato & Dill Bisque
Makes 4 - 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 15-oz. can crushed tomato
- 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 15 ounces water (1 can-full)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed (or 1 teaspoon fresh, minced)
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and saute for a few minutes, just to let the garlic cook a little bit.
- Add the crushed tomato, followed by the tomato paste. Stir well to disperse the paste into the rest of the liquid. Next, add the water.
- Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, letting it simmer.
- Add the cream, followed by the salt and spices. Stir well.
- Let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure it doesn't burn!