When life gives you tomatoes….

We’ve all heard the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Well when life gives you tomatoes, make roasted tomato soup with sunnyside up croutons!!

My garage is looking like a tomato storage unit. 5 varieties dispursed between 8 moving boxes and 1 overflowing wagon. Most are waiting to ripen and then on to sauce, the freezer or to my lifesaving friends, but some are calling me to use them, and quick! So after pouring over many cookbooks yesterday, I came across the following recipe in Michael Chiarello’s amazing cookbook (At Home with Michael Chiarello). Every recipe from this book is nothing short of amazing. Definite crowd pleasers! If you’re tomatoes are calling you too, be sure to try this one out.

FOR THE SOUP:

12 large, ripe tomatoes, about 4 pounds

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

12 large garlic cloves, peeled but left whole

Finely ground sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

2 cups water

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil

FOR THE BRUSCHETTA:

1 loaf country-style bread, 1 pound

Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing

Finely ground sea salt

FOR THE EGGS:

Extra-virgin olive oil for frying

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 large eggs

1 cup torn fresh basil for garnish

Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Prepare the tomatoes for the soup: Core the tomatoes and quarter them lengthwise. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread the tomatoes on a nonreactive rimmed baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes inthe oven until very dark in spots, 35 to 40 minues. Remove from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven on.

Make the brushetta: Cut the bread crosswise into slices about 1 inch thick. You will need 8 slices. Place the slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown and just beginning to crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly brush with olive oil on both sides, then season lightly with salt. Let cool.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the onion, and a pinch of salt over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring occassionally, until very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the roasted tomatoes and water. Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat to maintain the simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Working in batches, puree the tomato mixture with the basil, starting at a low speed and increasing the speed gradually. The mixture should be very smooth.

Cook the eggs: Over medium-high heat, use 2 skillets large enough for 4 eggs each; add enough oil to cover the bottom of each skillet by 1/8 inch. Divide the red pepper flakes evenly between the skillets, scattering them evenly over the bottom, then crack 4 eggs into each pan. Cook the eggs until the yolks are barely set, about 4 minutes, occassionally tilting each skillet to collect some oil in a spoon and pouring it over the yolks. Remove the eggs from the skillets with a slotted spatula.

To serve the soup, place 1 bruschetta in the center of each of eight shallow soup bowls. Pour the soup around the bruschetta. Place an egg on top of each bruschetta. Garnish with the torn basil. Drizzle the flavored oil from the skillets over each bowl of soup and serve. Serves 8.

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