Look, in the food and wine world we know some ingredients belong together. Dark chocolate and raspberries. Mint and peas. Mushrooms and thyme. Shiraz and pepper. Tequila and Myprodol. Some things just work, you know?
One of the most celebrated examples of flavours being best friends is the simple Caprese salad. Basil. Tomatoes. Mozzarella. Done. With the temperature being what it has the last few days (fu*king cold basically) I had a stab at trying to bring these flavours together in a way that would warm me up too. The result was a pretty cool "Caprese salad soup", which was a bit like a tomato soup dressed up for a night out.
Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
- Three handfuls of cherry tomatoes
- Two tins of tomatoes
- A bunch of basil
- The best olive oil you can get your hands on
- About 500ml of the best chicken stock/vegetable stock you have (Check out NoMU's fonds range)
- About 12 balls of bocconcini, or the equivalent amount of mozzarella ripped into 12 pieces.
- Half an onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- A handful of finely chopped celery
- A handful of finely chopped carrot
Okay, what to do:
1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place your cherry tomatoes in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast for 35 minutes, or until they begin to blister. Remove and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, gently fry your celery, onion, garlic, carrot in a pan until softened but not coloured.
3. Add your tinned tomatoes and stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer. Add your roasted tomatoes. Allow to simmer for as long as possible, or until the liquid has reduced to your liking.
4. Using a stick blender blitz mixture until smooth. (If you don't have a stick blender pour into normal blender and blitz.)
5. While soup is simmering, make a very rustic "pesto" by pounding the basil with some olive oil and sea salt in a pestle and mortar.
6. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and add three pieces of cheese to each bowl. Drizzle over the "pesto" and a bit of olive oil if you need to. Make sure to season with plenty of black pepper.
This is - quite simply - cooking for dummies. Anybody can make this. It is more sophisticated than a tomato soup and way tastier. The cheese that melts into the soup is what makes the difference. It scores high on the health:taste ratio and is perfect for winter. Get moving.