Tomato, Red Chilli & Bread Soup
This delicious country soup is perfect for those cool summer evenings, and requires the best ingredients: ripe and flavourful tomatoes, fresh zesty garlic, quality bread and local salt will each contribute. There is no need to skin and deseed the tomatoes: life really is not long enough and the skin and seeds contribute towards the flavour. Use a good olive oil for the soup but save that special estate-bottled unfiltered extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on the top just before serving.
50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and crushed with a pinch of salt)
6 Sage leaves
2 Medium/Hot Red Chillis such as Cayenne or Serrano (de-seeded and finely chopped)
1tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1.5kg Large, ripe Tomatoes (remove the cores and chop into small pieces)
150g 2-3 Day old Bread (preferably sourdough, thickly sliced and then cut into bite-sized pieces)
A large handful of Basil leaves
4 Slices of Serrano or Proscuitto (cut into small pieces and fried until crispy)
A Drizzle of Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a large pan, over a low heat, sweat the garlic, olive oil, sage leaves and chilli. Stir occasionally until the garlic is soft but not coloured (about 8-10 minutes). Turn up the heat to medium and add the vinegar. Allow the vinegar to reduce then add the tomatoes and season generously with salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low and simmer until the tomatoes have fallen and become a deeper red colour (about 40 minutes). Add lots of black pepper and a little more vinegar if necessary.
Meanwhile, lay the bread pieces in a single layer onto a grill pan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toast the bread under a hot grill until lightly brown on all sides. Tip the toasted bread pieces into the soup followed by the basil leaves.
Serve with a sprinkling of crispy proscuitto/serrano and a drizzle of single-estate olive oil.
This soup is best made the day before and left in the fridge for the flavours to mature. If made in advance add the basil leaves just before serving.