Growing up, tomato soup was always my favourite. That rich and creamy texture, paired with a piece of crusty buttered toast, was my combination of choice. Now I understand that the pairing of those components had more to do with a need for balance. Even though tomato soup can be “creamy” (there’s no cream in this recipe), it still tends to be slightly acidic… and while the soup is delicious on its own, the buttered toast always makes for a perfectly balanced bite. So, with homemade buttery croutons and fried prosciutto, this recipe is a sophisticated take on a classic.
4 lb. ripe vine tomatoes, quartered or halved depending on size
6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups homemade stock, or quality store-bought
1 tbsp. balsamic reduction
1 parmesan rind, optional
salt + pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto
2 cups day-old bread (preferably sourdough), cut into 1 inch cubed
2 tbsp. butter, salted or unsalted
For the blender:
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Scatter the garlic cloves throughout the tomatoes, and coat evenly with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and top with sprigs of thyme.
Roast the tomatoes for about 30-40 minutes or until wilted and starting to brown. Meanwhile, place a pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and allow them to cook until slightly translucent, stirring frequently.
Add the red pepper flakes and continue to stir until the onions are very soft (about 3 more minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Once the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool slightly. Discard the thyme sprigs and transfer the rest of the contents of the pan (including the juices) to a high-powered blender. Blend the mixture on high speed until very smooth.
For the pot:
Place a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp. of oil and 1 Tbsp. of butter. When the butter begins to foam, add 2 Tbsp. of flour and whisk constantly for about 2 minutes. The mixture should darken in colour. Then, slowly add 2 cups of the stock, continuing to whisk constantly, allowing the mixture to thicken.
Pour the contents of the blender into the pot, combining it with the thickened stock. Depending on the consistency of the soup at this point, consider adding the remaining 2 cups of stock.
Stir in 1 Tbsp. of balsamic reduction and add the Parmesan rind (wrapping the rind in cheesecloth will help it from sticking to the pot and make it easier to discard). Bring mixture to a simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, and salting to taste.
For the garnish:
Meanwhile, place a pan over medium heat and add the chopped prosciutto. Since prosciutto is quite oily to begin with, there’s no need to add oil to the pan. Stir frequently until crispy and brown (about 3-5 minutes), then transfer the meat to a plate and return the pan to heat.
Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in the pan. Once it begins to foam, add the cubed bread, mixing until coated in butter. Stir the bread occasionally until the bread is crispy and golden (about 5 minutes).
Transfer the soup to bowls, and top each serving with croutons and crispy prosciutto.
Alexandra Doyscher is a food photographer, visual storyteller, and the creator of Lionel & Hetta – an online space dedicated to her love for dining and gathering. Inspired by her roots, Alex finds passion and inspiration in the simple daily acts that make us who we are. Based on her grandparents and the nourishing lifestyle they passed down through her mother, her blog is a place meant to inspire creation and intention through the wondrous journey in the kitchen.