Do you say tomato or toe-mah-toe? I say tomato and with that said, I’ve been pondering the change of seasons. It is upon us, spring that is. I’m feeling the need to move forward as the clocks will be moving forward this weekend, a true sign of the season change. Not to mention dandelions, peach blossoms, redbud trees popping out all over, Bradford pear trees posing as if in the snow, March winds howling through my yard and the migration of many beautiful birds.
Adoring hubby mentioned the other day that he didn’t feel that we had eaten enough soups and winter’s hearty bowls of steaming soup would soon be a thing of the past. Yep, he was correct in that assumption, hearty, heavy stews and soups will soon take a back seat to lighter fare and fewer bowls of soup on the dinner table.
To satisfy his desire for one more bowl of soup I made a pot of tomato-basil soup. Everyone here at the Orange Bee loves tomato soup. We especially love it with a grilled cheese sandwich or after a bout of the crud. It’s the next best thing to chicken soup to cure what ever ails ya’.
This version tastes fresh, healthy and satisfying. The topping of fried okra sets it off just perfectly. I am not too keen on frying foods or eating fried foods. For one thing I detest the mess it creates on my stove top. The other reason I try to stay away from fried food is that greasy, knot in your stomach feeling you get when you eat fried food. I make a few exceptions to this rule, like if I’m having a weak moment, or while traveling, or in the case of okra. I like okra prepared various ways but fried is the best. So I fried up just enough to top the soup and it was the perfect accompaniment.
Before you stow away the soup pot make a batch of this delightful, change of seasons soup. You won’t be sorry.
Tomato Basil Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cans of whole tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium is my choice)
6 sprigs of basil, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
Frozen fried okra
Heat the olive oil in your soup pot and add the onion, sauté until soft and golden; add garlic and continue sautéing until garlic is soft. Add tomatoes, basil, broth salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tomatoes are soft. Stir in balsamic vinegar and continue to simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Remove pot from heat source and with a hand-held blender purée the soup leaving a few solid pieces of tomato. If you don’t own an immersion blender; cool the soup and purée in batches in a blender, returning the soup to the pot and keep warm.
Before serving the soup follow directions on the package of frozen okra and fry enough to top all servings. Be sure to drain the okra on paper towels and blot to remove excess grease.
All in all this soup is tastes fresh and healthy even with the addition of “fried” okra.