Friday, October 7, 2011

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese with a Twist

Tonight's menu started with an American classic - tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches with a Spanish flair. I made a Spanish Tomato Soup which was flavored with smoked paprika and was garnished with some smoked paprika oven roasted potatoes. This was not your typical creamy canned tomato soup, it was bursting with flavor and we really enjoyed it. The side dish of grilled cheese was actually Manchego cheese and Prosciutto which were layered on a baguette before being grilled. The American classic had a Spanish influence tonight and it worked beautifully.

Adapted from Cuisine At Home, October 2011
Spanish Tomato Soup (Serves 8)

For the Potatoes:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika*
1 1/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and diced

For the Soup:
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sliced manzanilla olives (stuffed green olives)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste

* Smoked paprika gets its dintinct smoky flavor from chile peppers dried over burning oak, if you can't find it use Spanish paprika.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For the potatoes, combine 1 tablespoon oil and 2 teaspoons smoked paprika in a large bowl, then toss with potatoes. Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet and roast until golden, crispy, and fork tender, about 40 minutes.

For the soup, sweat onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-low heat until onion softens, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon paprika, oregano, cumin, and pepper flakes.

Deglaze pot with sherry and cook until nearly evaporated.

Add tomato juice, broth, and tomatoes, Increase heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes; stir in orange juice. Puree soup with a handheld blender until smooth.

Stir in olives and parsley; season soup with salt and black pepper. Serve bowls of soup topped with potatoes.

Manchego Grilled Cheese (Serves 8)

1 Italian baguette
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. Manchego cheese, rind removed, thinly sliced
4 oz. thinly-sliced Prosciutto (a substitution for Serrano ham)

Trim baguette ends and slice off top and bottom so both sides are flat, then halve horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon butter on one side of each baguette piece.

Layer 2 oz. cheese on the unbuttered side of one baguette half. Top cheese with prosciutto, remaining cheese, and baguette half, buttered side up.

Preheat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium. Place the sandwich on the griddle, pressing it lightly with a spatula.

Cook sandwich until golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and grill until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. To serve, slice sandwich into 8 equal pieces.

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