Food Sunday: Cheese Toast, or Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup
(Picture courtesy of drstrangeglove at flickr.com.)
As the subject of what variety of cheese on toast to have with tomato soup came up recently between me and another pup who remembers this as a childhood event, I’m throwing it to you.
When I was a child, we often had canned tomato soup, served with a slice of toast with cheese melted on it. This was called cheese toast, and probably was usually Velveeta. For our fellow pup, spudtruckowner, it was the same soup, but with his sandwich two pieces of bread, buttered on both sides, grilled on a flat griddle on the stove. His was a grilled cheese sandwich, and probably also made with Velveeta.
I find there are 50 variations for the simple grilled cheese sandwich, at the food network site. Here’re the basics:
How to make grilled cheese:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon salted butter in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Press the sandwich slightly and place it in the skillet. Cook until golden on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Flip, adding more butter to the pan if needed, and cook until the other side is golden and the cheese melts, 3 to 5 more minutes.
I like the finger variety among the 50 suggestions: #7. Grilled Cheese Fingers: Make Classic Grilled Cheese (No. 1). Cut off the crusts and cut the sandwich into strips.
And then there’s the fiftieth: #50. Nutella and Banana: Spread 1 slice challah bread or brioche with ricotta; spread another with Nutella. Sandwich with sliced bananas and cook, flipping once, until golden.
If you want to make a special tomato soup, this recipe really goes for it:
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
- 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed (include the juice)
- 1-1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil, chives, or dill, or a mixture of all three (omit if using one of the garnishes below)
Be sure to purée in small batches and crack the blender lid slightly (or remove the center cap from the lid). Steam can build up once you start blending, and if the lid is on tight or the blender is overfilled, it will spray hot soup all over you and your kitchen. For protection, cover the top with a dishtowel while puréeing.
In a nonreactive 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the onion and garlic.
Add the broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
Discard the thyme sprig. Let cool briefly and then purée in two or three batches in a blender or food processor. Rinse the pot and return the soup to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary. Serve warm but not hot, garnished with the herbs or dolloped with one of the garnishes below.
If you want to spend your time in another way, there are also lots of good tomato soups to be bought. Some of them come in wax paper cartons, an interesting variation on the can.
At the time we were in school, we kids enjoyed the warm tomato soup and cheese on toast meal, and it was something for cold days to warm you up. Both of us dipped the sandwich/toast into the soup sometimes. The soup we had as kids was usually Campbell’s – add water and heat.
Nowadays, I would probably fancy this up and have some herbal tomato soup, many grain bread, a more choosy sort of cheese. Not so, spud.
Funny thing, talking about traditional foods jibed with Crane Station’s offering yesterday of her family memories of old days with fall suppers that had local pie auctions. Food and memories do go together.
(Picture courtesy of arndog at flickr.com.)