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Mediterranean cream of tomato soup with garlicky toasts

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Mediterranean cream of tomato soup with garlicky toasts
Velvety smooth tomato soup accented with oregano and thyme and served with garlicky pan-grilled toasts.


Tomato soup:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion—diced
1 celery stick—diced
1 garlic clove—finely chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
14 oz (400g) canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup milk


Garlicky toasts:
4 thick slices of baguette (sliced on the diagonal)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic—peeled and cut in half


HEAT the oil and butter in a saucepan and cook the onion and celery for 6 minutes. ADD the garlic, oregano and thyme and cook for 1 minute. ADD the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine. REMOVE from the heat and add the stock gradually, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. RETURN to the heat and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. BRING to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. WHILE the soup cooks, preheat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. BRUSH the bread slices evenly with oil on both sides. PLACE the slices in the pan and cook until both sides are crisp and browned. TRANSFER the toasts to a plate and, when cool enough to handle, rub one side of each slice with the cut side of the garlic. REMOVE the soup from the heat and puree in a blender or with a stick blender. RETURN the soup to the saucepan, stir in the milk, and reheat gently. SERVE in bowls with the garlicky toasts on the side.



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