<b>FOOD FINDS | </b>By Deanna Duff For the Weekly Herald
Tomatoes are the gold medalists of summer gardening. After months of care and dedication, there is no better reward than picking a plump tomato straight from the vine.
At Nordstrom, they always offer the cream of the crop from fashion to food and their “Summer Tomato Basil Soup” is a signature dish. The rich red color and bold flavor make for a refreshing yet satisfying meal.
Add Nordstrom’s signature “Parmesan-Garlic Crostini” and you’re guaranteed a kitchen win.
“Although we always serve the crostinis warm and fresh out of the oven at our restaurants as an accompaniment to the tomato soup, I have discovered that they make nice nibbles to serve with drinks,” says Michael Northern, Nordstrom’s corporate chef.
“They will remind you of individual garlic breads, which in my family means that they will disappear as fast as you can put them out!”
Nordstrom’s Summer Tomato and Basil Soup
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
3 cans (28 ounces each) whole Italian-style tomatoes in purée
1 can (14.5 ounces each) low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh basil leaves, cut into fine ribbons
1. In a 6- to 8-quart saucepan, over medium heat, warm the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
2. Add the carrots, onions and dried basil, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, including the purée, and the broth and bring just to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes to blend the flavors.
5. Remove from the heat. Purée the soup in the saucepan using a wand-type emulsion blender; or working in batches, purée the soup in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
6. Return the puréed soup to the saucepan, add the cream and place over medium heat. Warm until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Nordstrom’s Parmesan-Garlic Crostini
(Makes about 2 dozen)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons granulated garlic (not garlic powder)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 baguette, cut on a sharp diagonal into 3/8-inch-thick slices, each about 5 1/2 inches long
1. Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Mash the butter, cheese, salt and granulated garlic together in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula until combined. Stir in the parsley.
3. Using a flexible metal spatula, spread each slice of bread with a generous 2 teaspoons of the butter mixture in an even layer without any “bald spots.” Do not skimp. Arrange the crostini, spaced closely but not touching, on a baking sheet. (The unbaked crostini can be prepared up to 3 hours ahead, covered with parchment paper, and stored at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.)
4. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.