Tomato Bread Soup

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Tomato Bread Soup

Excerpted from Della Fattoria Bread by Kathleen Weber (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Ed Anderson.

In the summer, when you have garden tomatoes coming out your ears, this is a soup to rely on. Being bakers, we, of course, always have a lot of bread on hand, so Tomato Bread Soup is one of our go-to meals. Traditionally it’s made with stale bread, but we toast the croutons, so you don’t need to have stale bread for this recipe. Still, the soup makes brilliant use of a loaf that is a day or two old.

Tomato Bread Soup smells great and looks beautiful, and the flavors are bright and refreshing. Using a combination of tomato varieties and colors makes the soup especially attractive. It’s best when at least some of the tomatoes are high-acid varieties, like Early Girl.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, preferably a mixture, including Early Girls
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 15 medium basil leaves, plus a few more for garnish (optional)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth or 3 cups broth plus 1 cup red wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Crouton Rags
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Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water until the skins are starting to burst. Remove from the water and let sit until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, blanch the garlic cloves in the boiling water until tender.

Remove and discard the tomato skins. Halve the tomatoes and squeeze the juice and seeds into a bowl. Set the tomatoes aside. Strain the juice; discard the seeds.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or small pot over medium-high heat. The oil should be fairly hot—this is more of a stir-fry than a sauté. Add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt and stir until the garlic has caramelized, about 6 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, wine, if using, and reserved tomato juice and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has reduced slightly and the raw taste of the tomatoes (and wine) has mellowed, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt. Add half the croutons to the soup, remove from the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into wide bowls. Tear a little fresh basil over the top of each bowl, if using, drizzle with olive oil, and top with the remaining croutons.