TOMATO BASIL BISQUE + GRUYERE GRILLED CHEESE
ALERT: this is not a cookie recipe. In fact, it's not even dessert. Maybe you read the title. Read it again. You're about to make FANCY GRILLED CHEESE and the creamiest tomato basil bisque ever in the comfort of your own home! You can do it in pajamas! You can watch your favorite show while you eat it! You could EVEN sneak surprise bites of cheese while you're cooking. Who's gonna tell!?
The ingredients are simple—and the nice loaf of bread you buy is perfect for toast with eggs, too! Use canned tomatoes—they can be whole or crushed. And that gruyere? You can find it at your normal grocery store (or specialty cheese shop). I got this particular variety based on a recommendation from the cheese counter at Gateway Market.
You'll start out by cooking the onions until they're a lovely golden brown color. Then, in goes the garlic, tomatoes, and chicken stock.
If you have an immersion blender, now's the time to let it shine. Otherwise, you'll carefully pour the soup into your normal blender (I used a ladle to help with this process) and blend it up really nicely. You'll add the cream and basil after.
Meanwhile, butter two slices of your fancy chewy bread, and slice up the gruyere into 1/2 inch-thick pieces. You'll keep flipping the sandwich until you get a deliciously crispy outside, but the real trick here is to microwave the sandwich at the very end—this will melt the cheese perfectly without the risk of burning the bread.
I mean, COME ON.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1.5 tsp minced garlic)
28 oz canned tomatoes, crushed or whole
4 cups chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
basil, freshly torn or dried
parmesan cheese (optional)
2 slices/person country italian bread or preferred crusty artisan bread
gruyere cheese, sliced
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add chopped onions and a generous shake of salt. Cook onions (stirring occasionally) until golden brown—this should take about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute, continuing to stir.
2. Stir in tomatoes, then chicken stock. Season with more sea salt and a healthy amount of cracked pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for at least 15 minutes.
3. Using an immersion blender or regular blender (USE A LADLE SO YOU DON'T SPILL OR BURN YOURSELF), purée the mixture until smooth. Transfer back to the pot.
4. Add cream and basil and simmer for another 15 minutes. You can top with parmesan and basil, if you would like!
1. While the soup is simmering in the last step, start the grilled cheese. Butter one side of both pieces of bread, and place one butter-side down in your skillet (or frying pan). Top with cheese and the other slice of bread (butter side out).
2. Cook over medium-high heat and carefully flip a few times until both sides are crisped to your preference.
3. If cheese isn't melty enough, microwave sandwich for ~20 seconds. It'll stay crispy, but the cheese will be 200% more gooey.