Ironically enough, my mom's maiden name was Campbell, and this soup is the staple soup we ate as kids. We joked about the coincidence every time she ladled it into bowls. Of course this is freshly made, not from a can like the Campbell's soup so many are familiar with. And of course I recommend making this when the tomatoes are at their very best; otherwise, use good canned tomatoes. Serving it with a grilled cheese sandwich just makes sense. Who doesn't love this combo?
Serves 6 to 8
6-8 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges (or canned tomatoes, drained and cut into wedges)
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil (1 bunch), packed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces soft Brie or Camembert
16 thick slices sourdough, cut on a sharp bias
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 150°F. Put the tomatoes in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in one layer. Pour the oil over them to coat all the wedges evenly. Roast the tomatoes for 4 hours, or until they are fully wilted. If possible, leave them in the oven for twice the time—or overnight—for the best result.
Transfer the tomatoes, oil, and accumulated juices to a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. As soon as the tomatoes simmer, lift them from the oil with a spoon (you want some of the oil and juices, although not all) and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add some of the oil and juices, depending on your taste preference. Blend in batches while slowly adding the scalded milk and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Evenly distribute the cheese among 8 slices of bread. Top with the remaining slices of bread to form cheese sandwiches. Butter the top and bottom of each sandwich. Meanwhile, heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook the sandwiches for about 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned and the cheese is melted.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve the cheese sandwiches alongside.
Excerpted from Sustainably Delicious by Michel Nischan, Rodale Books, 2010. Copyright © 2010 by Michel Nischan.