Gourmet Summertime Grilled Cheese with Roasted Tomato Soup

This classic combination transports you back to your childhood, no matter what age you are. Although I love grilled cheese, I thought it needed a little makeover. My seasonal gourmet grilled cheese has two gooey cheeses in it-brie and fontina-and local produce like apricots and arugula. Oh and prosciutto! This sweet, rich and salty grilled cheese pairs perfectly with the fresh roasted tomato soup.

Gourmet Grilled CheeseServes 1

3 tbs. unsalted butter
Drizzle of olive oil
2 slices of good quality sourdough bread 3 thin slices of brie cheese
9 thin slices of fontina cheese
6 arugula leaves
1 large slice of prosciutto
1 small apricot, cut into thin slices

1. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-low heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Put the two slices of bread into the skillet. Let the slices get toasted and golden brown on one side for about 3-4 minutes.
2. Flip the bread over so that the browned side is facing upwards. Care- fully add both cheeses, arugula, prosciutto and apricot to both slices of bread. Sandwich the pieces together and press down by using a spatula.
3. Let both sides of the sandwich get a nice golden brown for about 4-5 minutes per side. Add more oil and/or butter to the pan if needed.
4. Using a spatula, remove the sandwich from the pan and enjoy immediately.

Roasted Tomato SoupServes 6-8
4 globe tomatoes, cut in quarters
4 roma tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into thirds and halved
5 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 large onion, largely chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonaded
2 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
Crushed red pepper flakes
Sea Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
2. Add the two kinds of tomatoes, red pepper, garlic cloves and onion to a bak- ing sheet. Pour the olive oil evenly over the vegetables and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands so it is evenly distributed. Spread all of the vegetables out in an even layer so everything will roast evenly. Put in the oven.
3. Roast the veggies for about 20-40 minutes or until the tomatoes are blistered and everything is browned, but not burnt. Stir occasionally. Remove from the oven. 4. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their peel by gently pressing on them. Discard the peels and keep the garlic with the other veggies. Add all of the veggies and their juices to a big pot. Top the veggies with about 3 cups of chicken stock or enough to cover the veggies. Add the basil, parsley and thyme. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring this mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the liquid reduces. Stir occasionally.
5. Take the soup off the heat. Using tongs, remove the thyme sprigs. Puree the soup by using an immersion blender or standard blender until smooth. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve the soup hot with fresh basil on top.

Happy Eatings!

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