Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a classic American pairing. This particular recipe is a nice twist on the original, using sun-dried tomatoes in addition to fresh ones, and ciabatta panini in place of a plain grilled cheese sandwich. The result is a simple meal whose flavor is anything but.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 ciabatta rolls
- 1/2 pound Italian Fontina cheese slices
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, stirring over medium-high heat until softened (about 4 minutes). Add the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, stock and thyme, and then bring it to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Take out the sprigs of thyme.
- Transfer the soup to a blender. Add the cream and puree until the mixture is smooth. Be sure to hold the top of the blender in place using a dish towel; blending hot liquids can literally blow the lid off your blender if left unattended.
- Once you're finished blending, pour the soup back into the saucepan and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the burner to medium so your soup is still nice and hot when your sandwich finishes cooking.
- Add the sliced cheese to the ciabatta rolls. If you have a panini press, you're good to go; press until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted. Otherwise, cook them on the stovetop as you would an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich.