From page 135, A Table for Two
Courtesy of Marcel’s, Wasington, D.C.
Roasting tomatoes enhances the flavor of this outstanding soup, which surrounds a creamy goat cheese flan topped with Parmesan and thyme crisps. If you don’t have time to make the crisps, serve with crusty bread.
8 tomatoes, halved
3 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half or heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Goat Cheese Flan (recipe follows)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry, halved crosswise
2 small handfuls microgreens or mixed baby salad greens
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Arrange the tomatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with the shallots, garlic, and thyme. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until soft and shriveled.
In a large, heavy saucepan, fry the bacon in the olive oil over medium-low heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the roasted tomatoes, shallot, garlic clove, thyme, crumbled bacon, and any juice. Pour in the chicken stock or broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the cream or half-and-half and simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and purée. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan and season with salt and pepper.
To make the crisps: Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a small, rimmed baking sheet, combine the 2 tablespoons Parmesan and the thyme. Stir to blend, then spread evenly. Slice the puff pastry sheet in half lengthwise and generously sprinkle it with the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Cut the dough into 4 long strips and roll the strips into very thin straws about 10 inches long. Roll the straws in the cheese and thyme mixture until the mixture adheres to the straws. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
To serve, reheat the soup if necessary. Unmold a goat cheese flan in the center of each of 2 soup bowls. Carefully ladle the tomato soup around each flan. Top each flan with some microgreens, lay 2 Parmesan crisps across, and serve immediately.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Goat Cheese Flans
One 4-ounce log fresh white goat cheese at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly coat two 4-ounce ramekins with olive oil or butter.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, goat cheese, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared ramekins and transfer them to a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Fill the dish with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Makes 2 flans
From A Table for Two by Sharon O'Connor, page 135