April 8th, 2012
Recipe by Paula Bowman
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner and set aside.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Use a sharp paring knife to score the bottom of each tomato with an X. Place tomatoes in boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove tomatoes using a slotted spoon and transfer to ice water. Once cool, peel and discard skins and cut tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Use a small spoon or gently squeeze tomatoes to remove seeds and strain juice using a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Measure juice and add enough water to measure 2½ cups liquid. Roughly chop tomatoes (about 3 cups chopped).
In a large saucepan over medium heat combine oil and garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Discard garlic using a slotted spoon and add tomatoes and strained juice mixture. Cook stirring occasionally until tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Whisk bread into soup and continue to cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Add torn basil leaves and season generously with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, as soup cooks, arrange cheddar into 8 equal mounds on prepared sheet pan. Spread each mound slightly until it is about 2½-inches in diameter and sprinkle each cheese round with pepper. Transfer pan to oven and bake until lacey and light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove sheet pan from oven and let cool. Remove from pan using a thin spatula or a knife. Serve soup in warm bowls with 2 cheddar crisps and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.