A couple weeks ago I went to one of my favorite nearby restaurants, a fabulous tapas bar. As usual, I forced my table to order the queso de cabra. For those unfamiliar with tapas, queso de cabra equates to goat cheese baked in a tomato sauce served with slices of baguette, which I prefer toasted with a little garlic and olive oil.
After sopping up the last of the cheese and tomato sauce I had to wonder how I could possible make this dish more accessible to my everyday diet. I suppose I could have opted to replicate the tapa completely and eat it for a meal on its own, but for some reason a pot of tomato sauce with a hunk of goat cheese baked in the middle and some garlicky toasts on the side didn’t seem like a stand alone meal. It seemed like a great tapa but not a complete dinner. Why tomato soup seems like more of a dinner I cannot tell you, but it did. So, my queso de cabra version of tomato soup was born.
I wanted to use fresh tomatoes given their abundance at the farmer’s market and I also wanted bread to somehow be included in the mix. This is where the Bill Telepan recipe adapted by Luisa Weiss of the Wednesday Chef came in to play. (Read Luisa’s review of this soup by clicking on the link below. If that doesn’t make you want to whip up a batch of this soup I don’t know what will.) The recipe calls for making an easy tomato soup recipe, stirring in hunks of sourdough bread towards the end, and topping it all with cheese and basil. Sound pretty good to me.
The only changes I made to Luisa’s version were to peel the tomatoes. If you’re going for ease though feel free to leave them unpeeled. Luisa did! And to use goat cheese instead of ricotta. Next time I might try roasting the tomatoes or adding the goat cheese to the soup when I add the bread. For now though, with my pre-lunch stomach growling, I think I’m just might have to warm myself up a bowl. And then buy some more tomatoes this weekend to make it all over again.
Tomato Bread Soup
adapted (slightly) from the Wednesday Chef
The changes I made to the Wednesday Chef’s version of this recipe are detailed above. If you only want to eat one serving immediately and save the rest for later I suggest cooking the entire tomato soup for 45 minutes according to the directions below. Then, once it’s ready, pour the serving size you want in a smaller pot, add the bread, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. The rest of the soup you can refrigerate and add bread to when you heat up your next serving.
Serves 3 to 4
3 pounds plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sourdough bread, without crusts, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, minced
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a paring knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an X. Add tomatoes to boiling water and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until skin at the X begins to peel back. Using a slotted spoon, remove tomatoes and immediately place in bowl of ice water. Once cooled, peel and core tomatoes. Place in food processor and pulse to chop.
Heat oil in 4-quart saucepan. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, but not browned. Add tomatoes and their juices. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a slow simmer and cook 45 minutes, covered, stirring from time to time.
When the soup has simmered for 45 minutes, stir the bread cubes into the soup and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning if desired.
Serve hot or at room temperature, with goat cheese and minced basil sprinkled on each serving.