La Madeline Tomato Basil Soup and Croutons

There is a place in Texas, La Madeleine, one of my favorite restaurants for a quick bite.  I miss it. I crave it. I dream about it.  Before we left that great state and moved to Idaho (where I'm still looking for a favorite restaurant), I found a recipe in the Dallas Morning News  that made me so happy.  La Madeleine is well known for their Tomato Basil Soup...and there it was, staring at me from the Home and Garden section of the newspaper.  I cut it out and made copies of it and laminated it.  I make it often; and when I make it, the world makes sense again.  Yesterday a storm blew in (literally) and my neighbor was sick.  I pulled out my trusty, worn, laminated recipe for La Madeleine Tomato Basil Soup and created the masterpiece.  I hate tomatoes...but I love this soup.  Try it.  I know you'll love it too.

 Measure 4 cups tomatoes.  I use canned; or, use 8 - 10 peeled, cored and chopped tomatoes. 
Add 4 cups unsalted tomato juice (sometimes all I can find is salted and it still tastes great!)
Simmer tomatoes and juice for 30 minutes over medium low heat.
Then let tomato mixture cool slightly.  
 Meanwhile, place 12-14 freshly washed basil leaves in a bowl.
 Chop with kitchen shears.
Until they look like this.  I have found that they puree in the blender better when they are chopped first.
Place a couple of cups of the tomato mixture in high powered blender along with some basil.  Blend.
The mixture should look a little like this.  Continue pureeing in small batches until all tomatoes and basil are blended.  Return mixture to saucepan.
Mixture should be pureed with little bits of basil peeking out.  The smell is divine.
Next, add cream.  I'm sure you could use whole milk or skim milk but why mess with a masterpiece? 
Stir well.

Finally, add butter and stir.  Yes butter.  It makes the world of difference between mediocre and marvelous. 
 Now the soup is a...well, a tomato soup color.  Add a little cracked pepper and salt.

While the soup is simmering, take some french bread and cube it.  I used half of this village loaf and we had more than enough croutons.
Cube into bite-sized pieces.  Place on jelly roll pan.
Drizzle olive oil on bread. 
Sprinkle with salt and garlic salt.
Add a little parsley for color.  Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour.

Then, turn heat to 400 degrees and let bread get nice and golden...and crunchy.  Should take 5 to 10 minutes.
 I love to sprinkle the croutons in the soup and slurp and crunch until my bowl is licked clean.

I'd better take these to my neighbor before I eat it all.  *wink* 

La Madeline Tomato Basil Soup

4 cups tomatoes (8 to 10) peeled, cored and chopped, or 4 cups canned whole tomatoes, crushed
4 cups unsalted tomato juice
12 to 14 fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish, chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sweet, unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
salt to taste
croutons (optional)

Combine tomatoes and juice in saucepan.  Simmer for 30 minutes ovr medium-low heat.  Cool slightly, then place in a blender or food processor.  Add basil and process to puree; this will have to be done in batches.

return mixture to saucepan.  Add cram and butter.  Stir over low heat until butter and cream are incorporated.  Stir in salt and pepper before serving.  Garnish with more fresh basil and serve with croutons or fresh, crusty bread.  Makes 8 servings. 

1/2 loaf Crusty French Bread 
1/4 cup Olive Oil 
Garlic salt to taste 
Salt To Taste
Crushed parsley 

Slice the bread into thick slices and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Throw them onto a baking sheet.

Slowly drizzle the olive oil over the bread cubes. Mix together with your hands, then sprinkle lightly with salt, garlic salt and parsley. Bake at 200º for one hour, shaking the pan occasionally.

One hour after baking, crank up the heat to 400 degrees. Bake them on high heat for just a few minutes.



1 Comment

1 Response to "La Madeline Tomato Basil Soup and Croutons"

  1. Kay says:

    God Bless you! We are on military orders in North Carolina, and I DREAM about this soup. But it's not the same shipped in a can. THANK YOU!

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