Roasted Tomato Soup & A Portobello Bun Grilled Cheese

Tomato soup and grilled cheese is a classic meal.  I have never been a huge tomato soup fan myself, but basically everyone I know loves it.  However, when the tomato soup is the dipping sauce for a warm, toasty sandwich, I can deal with it 🙂
This was my first time making homemade tomato soup, and defiantly won’t be my last.  Maybe my problem with tomato soup all these years has been the fact that it comes from a can.  Fresh tomatoes, roasted to perfection then pureed into a smooth liquid gives tomato soup new life!  
The tomatoes coming from my garden right now are silly.  Look at the size of that one!  It was actually bigger than my hand, and my hands are unusually large.  I joked it could feed a family of four for a week. But seriously…
Now do you see why I have been making everything tomato lately?  With dozens of tomatoes like this sitting around the house (and new ones ripening in the garden every day), they are begging to be eaten! I used a mix of roma tomatoes and other varieties to make this soup.  Romas will take less time to roast because they contain less water than other varieties, but besides that there is no real taste difference. Instead of adding sautéed garlic for this soup, I added two heads of roasted garlic.  Oh my was that a good idea!  If you have never roasted garlic, do yourself a favor and try it.  When garlic is roasted it becomes a warm, gooey, sweet paste that I can eat by the spoonful.  The soup really didn’t need anything but the roasted tomatoes and garlic.  Simply delicious.
I knew I wanted some form of grilled cheese to go with this soup.  Even though I can defiantly eat this soup alone, my younger self would be very upset if i wasn’t eating tomato soup with a grilled cheese spoon. I just updated my grilled cheese to meet my current taste buds.  And the portobello bun avocado grilled cheese was born. 
Creamy avocado paired with fresh mozzarella, red onion, roasted garlic, and of course a fresh tomato! Roasted portobello mushrooms made a wonderful bun.  They are tender and flavorful without being watery and add a rich, nutty flavor to the mix.  
Both this soup and sandwich are very simple to make.  Heck, the soup only has 2 main ingredients in it! You haven’t had tomato soup until you ditch the can and make if fresh.
Roasted Tomato Soup
yield: 8 cups of soup
4-5 lbs roma tomatoes (or any fresh tomatoes), diced
2 heads roasted garlic (recipe follows)
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil, then lay a sheet of parchment paper on top.  (It’s not necessary, however it makes cleanup much easier!)
2. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and generously drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  They are done when the skins are shriveled and just starting to brown.
3. Put the roasted tomatoes in a food processor or high speed blender and add the roasted garlic.  Blend thoroughly, so all the tomato skins are broken down.  If you like your soup slightly chunky, then instead of pureeing the tomatoes, simply pulse them so some tomato chunks are left.
4. Add the blended tomatoes to a pot and bring to a boil, before simmering until your desired consistency is reached.  The longer you boil it, the thicker the soup will get.  Taste the soup, and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
5. Dress with desired toppings, and serve hot.  Alternatively, you can eat this as a cold roasted tomato soup on a hot day.

Roasted Garlic

whole garlic head(s)
tin foil

Directions:
Cut the tops off of the garlic heads.  Wrap each clove in tin foil and seal the top so they are fully inclosed.  Bake in the oven until the garlic is brown, fragrant, and soft.  You can bake the garlic at any temperature, just remember the higher the temperature, the shorter the cook time.  I usually bake them at 375 F while I am roasting vegetables, and it takes about 35 minutes.  If you are cooking at a higher temperature, check the garlic after 15-20 minutes to prevent burning.  You can also add a teaspoon of water to the bottom of the tin foil before closing it to ensure the garlic won’t burn at high temperatures.

Portobello Bun Grilled Cheese

yield: 2 sandwiches

For the mushrooms:
4 large potrobello mushrooms, cleaned and de-gilled
pinch of salt, pepper, dried oregano
olive oil, for drizzling
4 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided

For the sandwitch assembly:
1/2 avocado
2 2oz slices of mozzarella cheese
1/4 smal red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp roasted garlic
1 Tbsp fresh chopped herbs (I used a mix of basil and chives)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Line a pan with tin foil and place the mushrooms on it, flat side up.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar per mushroom.  Roast for 15-20 minutes at 375 F, or until the mushrooms are tender. Allow to cool for five minutes in the pan, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the water.

To assemble, spread a teaspoon of roasted garlic on the flat side of two of the mushrooms. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Put the cheese on next, then lay the onions and avocado on top. Top each with the other mushrooms.

Using a panini press, hot pan, or convection oven, heat the sandwich until the cheese melts.  Serve hot.

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2 Comments

  1. Wow what an interesting concept, roasting garlic.
    You are probably right about not having had tomato soup until you've ditched the can. That just might have convinced me.

  2. If you like garlic, you must try roasting it! It instantly makes everything better:)

    Coming from a tomato soup hater, fresh tomato soup is so much better. I think it's the acidity of the canned soup that get's me. Fresh tomato soup is much less acidic, and more flavorful. You can also try adding pureed roasted carrots to this soup to further mellow the tomato acidity and add a touch of sweetness.

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