Tomato and savoury soup with Parmesan-baked sourdough

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This tasty and substantial soup makes good use of a late-summer glut of tomatoes if you happen to be a tomato grower; or alternatively, you could even pop in some green tomatoes that haven't quite managed to ripen up. Make sure to break the bread up into nice big uneven chunks and if it's a little too fresh, just leave it out to dry a little before you bake it.

4tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and cut into rough 1cm chunks
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
tbsp savoury or thyme leaves
tbsp tomato purée
1ltr vegetable stock
10 firm red or green tomatoes, or a mixture
A couple of thick slices of sourdough bread, broken into rough chunks
2-3tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2tbsp chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and gently cook the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the savoury, tomato purée and stock, season and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, score the tops of the tomatoes with a sharp knife, plunge into boiling water for about 10-12 seconds, then transfer into a bowl of cold water. Remove the skins, halve them and squeeze out the seeds. Cut them in half, then each half into 4 or 6 chunks and add to the soup and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Preheat a grill to maximum, toss the pieces of sourdough in the rest of the olive oil and lay on a tray. Scatter with the cheese and toast until lightly coloured, turning them as they are cooking.

To serve, add the chives to the soup and serve with the croutons on top.

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