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Heirloom Tomato "B.L.T." Soup
Jerry Regester, exec sous chef, The Lodge at Pebble Beach
This recipe comes from "California Farmer", September issue. Gary Ibsen tasted his first heirloom tomato more than 30 years ago. It's now his niche, with his wife and business partner, Dagma Lacey. "The Tomato Man" grows heirlooms near Gilroy, and was the founder and executive director of the Carmel Tomato Fest from 1991 to 2008. Gary and Dagma's soup recipe was co-developed with chef Jerry Regester.
- 3# heirloom tomatoes
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 oz. really good olive oil from the Farmers Market
- 1 T. garlic, chopped
- 5 slices smoked bacon, from the Farmers Market
- 1 T. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 pint red wine
- 2 T. good sherry vinegar from the Farmers Market
- 3 slices rye bread
- 1/2 # mixed greens from the Farmers Market
- sea salt and cracked fresh pepper to taste
In medium saucepan cook onion, garlic, thyme, and four slices of bacon in 1 ounce of the olive oil. Cook slowly over low heat and season with salt a pepper, do not brown the onions. When onions are translucent, add the sherry vinegar and cook about 2 minutes longer.
Add about three-quarters of the tomatoes to the pot; let stew about 15 minutes, then season with pinch of salt. Add wine and reduce by one-third. Pass soup base through a food mill, strain through a China cap to remove skins and seeds.
For garnish: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dice bread, toss in one ounce of olive oil, toast until golden-brown, set aside. Julienne remaining slice of bacon and saute over medium heat until crispy, set aside.
Ladle into hot bowls. Dice remaining tomatoes and cook with the greens in the remaining olive oil until greens are wilted – about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into center of each bowl. Sprinkle croutons and bacon. Enjoy!