Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese, Tomato and Turkey Bacon Sandwiches

Tomato Basil Soup

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or more, if you have it)
  • pinch Italian seasoning
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste

In a large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, until shallot is softened.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the other 2 tablespoons olive oil, tomatoes, basil and Italian seasoning.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have released their juices and the mixture is very liquidy.  Using an immersion blender, puree the tomatoes until smooth.  Add the cayenne pepper and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Whisk in the tomato paste.

Reduce heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes until thickened and flavors have married.

To serve, garnish with freshly cracked pepper, chopped basil, a dab of cream or grated Parmesan.

Recipe yields 5 cups.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato and Turkey Bacon

  • 4 slices turkey bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 4 thin slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 thin slices sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

On a griddle, cook the turkey bacon until crispy.  Assemble the sandwiches, starting and ending with the cheese:  bread, cheese, tomatoes, basil, bacon, cheese and bread.  Roma tomatoes are a good choice since they are more "meaty" and won't make the sandwiches soggy.

Brush the olive oil on the griddle and cook the sandwiches until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Serve with Tomato Basil Soup.

Yields 2 sandwiches.