Spicy Roasted Tomato-Fennel Soup with a Parmesan Crisp Crust
- 2 fennel bulbs, quartered
- 8 beefsteak tomatos, quartered
- 4 small yellow onions, quartered
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 1 jalapeno, with seeds, halved
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup fresh thyme
- Spread the first four items out across a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Put in 375 degree oven on the middle rack for 45 minutes.
- Broil just until some of the vegetables develop a nice char.
- Put all of the roasted vegetables in a large stock pot or (preferably) a ceramic Dutch oven pot and put the lid on (make sure you get the juices and oil left on the cookie sheet into the pot as well).
- Let it cook over medium heat for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Take it off of the heat and add the jalapenos, basil, oregano, and thyme to the pot.
- With an immersion blender, blend the soup until it has a smooth, creamy consistency.
- Put it back on low heat and keep it there for at least another 30 minutes or until you’re ready to serve it (be warned- the longer you leave it on the stove, the spicier the soup will be)
- Parmesan (grated into thick strips)
- Butter a cookie sheet
- Make a circle out of a thin layer of parmesan for each bowl of soup you’ll be serving (use the bowl’s circumference to approximate the size the cheese circle needs to be)
- Put in a 350 degree oven and leave it until the cheese melts and the edges begin to brown (be more patient than I was, it takes around 5 minutes)
- Let the parmesan cool and harden (again, be more patient than I was)
- Carefully, slip a spatula under the parmesan and place it on top of the soup in the bowl (if you want it to look like the picture above, add a large leaf of basil).
Disclaimer: The few measurements I include are not exact. I cook without measuring because I find it more fun and flexible. Please use my recipes only as a starting point and change up as much as you can or want to (then post a picture to the Facebook wall!).