Monday, July 2, 2007

"Soup and Sandwich" -- Grilled Farmhouse Cheddar, Early Girl Tomato Consommé, and Butter-Fried Chips

The intro to this dish discusses Keller's love for an American classic: grilled cheese and tomato soup, which also happens to be one of my favorite combos in the whole world. Whenever I've had a bad day, I reach for some mac and cheese, or if I'm feeling particularly industrious and in need of serious dunkage along with my comfort food, grilled cheese and tomato soup. We called it a toasted cheese sandwich growing up; I'm guessing that's a regional thing. Whatever you call it, it's good.

This haute version of such a classic doesn't evoke the same feeling of comfort food, but it was pretty and delicious, and made for a nice weekend lunch. Let's go...

Here are the halved and cored tomatoes for the Consommé:

You'll also notice there's a soaked dried chipotle pepper in there, too. Yummmm..... I put the tomatoes and the chili into the food processor until they were finely chopped. Then, I put that giant blob of chopped tomato loveliness into a dishtowel, tied it tight, and strung it up in the fridge so that the tomatoes could drain into a bowl:

[There's the foie -- so I'm sort of busted. Yes, I made this dish to serve the same day I made the foie gras for my parents' anniversary. I'm only posting it today because I'm on vacation and knew I wouldn't be cooking much this week, so I saved this one for your viewing pleasure this week. Sue me. No, wait. Don't. Thanks.]

The tomatoes hung (hanged?) there overnight, leaving a little over 2.5 cups of tomato water. I strained it and kept the remaining liquid in the refrigerator for a few hours, until we were ready to eat it:

Next, I blanched these cute little cherry tomatoes:

Man, I wish I didn't have acid reflux. I could eat these things like candy, I tell ya. I blanched, ice-bathed, and peeled them and let them sit in a container at room temperature until they were ready to be served:

Up next? Some gratuitous butter porn:

Now that you're done wiping the drool from your chin, I can tell you that was the clarified butter for the potato chips (which I never made) and the sandwiches, which I did make so let's talk about those. It's pretty straightforward -- cut the crusts off a few slices of brioche, shave some white cheddar, make a sandwich, brush the clarified butter on the outside, then cook them on a nonstick surface over medium heat. Here's a shot of the final product:

And, the final shots of the Tomato Consommé (served chilled):

Up Next: Not sure, but I bet it might involve lobster. I wanted to do the soft-shell crab sandwich, but I hate softshell crabs, and I don't know anyone who likes them. So, I need to find someone who will eat it before I commit to making it. Anyone? Anyone?!?!

Brands Used:
All-Clad cookware
Tillamook cheddar
Brioche from Balducci's
Tomatoes from Whole Foods
Chipotle from my pantry
365 organic butter

Music to Cook By: The Joel Plaskett Emergency; Various. I'm on vacation, and they're boppy and Canadian. Perfect.


french tart said...

oh my gawd. i wish i still lived in maryland cos i'd come and eat all the soft shell crab sandwiches you'd make!

the grilled cheese looks great. brioche makes everything better. or maybe that's just the butter in the brioche that makes everything better.

domestic_valerie said...

I love your blog...I've been lurking for a while now and drooling over the job you've been doing.

I also love soft shell crab and if you want to make them over here on the west coast I'd be more than happy to offer a kitchen and a test subject/palette.

Can't wait for more!

Anonymous said...

*waves hand wildly* Me, me oh meeeee!! I'll eat anything you make ever. Well, almost. But I love crab!

Unknown said...

I LOVE soft shell crabs, and I love the blog. If you need someone to eat, I live in DC! -Kate

Unknown said...

Long time reader and eater. If you're offering, I would be happy to eat soft shell crab sandwiches. :)

Anonymous said...

ME ME ME ME! I want to eat softshell crabs! LOTS OF THEM.

Yeah, I know I'm anonymous, but I'm not flying up there to eat them, however tasty, so it doesn't matter.


elvi said...

Not sure when I can make it to D.C. (it's about a 10 hour drive, I think, from Montreal) but I do love soft-shelled crab...

Jaye Joseph said...

I wish I lived there because I would put a world of hurt on some softshell crab.

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious; I like that contraption you've rigged up to hang up the "foie" and tomatoes in the fridge. Good luck in your culinary journey! I've got the book too and I'm quite tempted to whip it out after seeing all those delectable pictures =]

pdxblogmommy said...

Helllooo...glad you're on vacation. Every girl needs a break now and then.

OK, so the sandwich looks divine because, really, who doesn't love a grilled cheese sandwich in pretty much any format. With brioche, white cheddar and clarified butter? Truly, that's a no brainer.

But the consomme (I can't find the accent to add there...)looks mighty B-L-A-N-D to me. Even the chipotle pepper can't save that for me. And I love tomatoes and I love chipotle peppers. Sorry Mr. Keller.

Now the CHIPS...that'd be a divine addition. Might have made that cold consomme (again sans accent) a bit more interesting.

And hey...if you make the soft shell crab next you could always pack it up and ship it to PDX where my husband would GLADLY partake. But I don't know anyone closer who would eat it. Well...Jonshea would I'm guessing.

Anonymous said...

I've held off making the tomato soup because it does look bland,is it? But your grilled cheese... I could almost taste it from here. Wish I could hop a plane for some soft shelled crab, just thinking about it brings back memories of my Granny Rie.

Anonymous said...

This looks and sounds nice, but yeah... the cold consomme just seems too haute to me. I had a wonderful traditional grilled cheese and tomato soup at Bouchon Bakery in NYC last year, though. They used a combination of fontina and gruyere that is my new gold standard for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Warda said...

Your sandwich looks scrumptious! The soup is sure to be a hit for a romantic dinner although my hubby is not s big fun of chilled consomme or soups. I might look for another hubby, I guess!!
I just love your blog.

Luisa said...

Me me me! Though I think the heat might work against any soft-shell-crab-sandwich mail in the post, not to mention the other logistics... Rats.

Shayne said...

I wish I could write like you , your stories are wonderful and lively.

Unknown said...

My whole family loves your blog, and now I have to cook something from TFL for them - they've suggested the butter poached lobsters :)

We got some frozen tomatoes in our farm share box earlier this year and one of the farm's suggestions was to thaw them in a strainer over a bowl and save the tomato water. These were paste tomatoes and there was a LOT of very flavorful water. I'll have to try this recipe next time we get a bag of frozen tomatoes in the box.