Roasted Eggplant Soup Gratinee
Category: Soups & Salads | Blog URL: http://stuff2eat.blogspot.com/2009/02/roasted-eggplant-soup.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
It's been so chilly in Los Angeles―seriously, in my hood, in the upper 30s―I've been craving something warm, creamy and salty. Something kind of like French onion soup, but without the onions, since onion soup doesn't really do it for me. Instead, I came up with something that contains the components of French onion soup most people really dig: toasted baguette slices and melted cheese. But, both of these can be tossed aside if you don't roll with wheat or dairy. The taste of the soup won't be compromised a bit. Enjoy!
Roasted Eggplant Soup
12 (½-inch-thick) baguette slices (no ends)
3 pounds eggplant (about 3 medium)
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium shallots, chopped
½ cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc is nice)
4 cups water
2 teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup (canned or fresh) whole peeled plum tomatoes and their juices, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
½ cup chopped fresh basil
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Place baguette slices on baking sheet, and bake until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and set aside.
2. Turn oven up to 400° F. Pierce eggplant all over with a fork. Place eggplant on baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Roast for 30 minutes or until a fork easily pierces flesh.
3. Meanwhile, slice off about ½ inch from the top of the head of garlic. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over top of garlic, wrap tightly in foil, and place in oven on separate baking sheet for 20 minutes. Unwrap and roast uncovered another 10 minutes. (Eggplant and garlic should be put in the oven at the same time so they come out of the oven at the same time.)
4. While the vegetables are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in shallots and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in wine, water, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Remove eggplant and garlic from oven. Set garlic aside to cool. Eggplant will let off steam when cut into, so be careful. Cut off stem end of eggplant, then cut eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out flesh into a bowl. Flesh should separate easily from skin. When all the flesh has been removed, transfer to pot. Discard the skin.
7. With wet hands, remove cooled garlic from its skin and add to pot. Garlic will still be hot, so be careful. If your hands are wet, the papery garlic skin will not stick to them as much, and it’s also soothing when handling the hot garlic.
8. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes so flavors combine. At this point the soup looks a little like a sea monster convention. Not to worry: You will soon transform it into a thing of scrumptious beauty.
9. Let soup cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Puree soup in batches in blender or use an immersion (hand) blender and puree in the pot. If using a regular blender, after you put the soup into the blender and the top is on securely, hold a dish towel over the top of the blender so you don’t Jackson Pollack your kitchen with soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water in ½-cup increments, if needed. With each addition of liquid, also add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Place 2 or 3 slices of toasted baguette in bottom of each ovenproof soup crock or bowl. How many pieces you use will depend on the size of your crock. Ladle soup carefully over the baguette slices, making sure the bread stays at the bottom of the crock. Top each soup-filled crock with ½ cup shredded mozzarella. Place crocks on baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving. The crocks will be hot then, too, so take care not to burn your digits.