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Smoked Tomato Soup with Crab Grilled Cheese


 a bowl of smoked tomato soup with crab grilled cheese

It’s soup season here in Canada and as the weather turns from hot to cold, we’re all looking for that comfort food that warms our souls. As an Italian-Canadian, tomato soup was not usually part of my family’s repertoire growing up, but I can acknowledge a good match when I see one, and tomato soup and grilled cheese is a match made in comfort food heaven. As per usual, I had to do things a bit differently and made a smoked tomato soup and crab grilled cheese. Of course, if you don’t have a smoker, you can roast your tomatoes, onions and garlic in the oven. If you don’t have a blender that can accommodate hot liquids, you can use a hand immersion blender to blend all your ingredients together. However, I do think that using a Vitamix is the best option for making this recipe, or any other pureed soups. I originally was going to use cream in this recipe, but using melted butter and the Vitamix gave this tomato soup a really amazing creamy texture, sans cream. If you do want to add in cream, by all means, go for it.


If you don’t like crab, you can make a regular grilled cheese, or you can add in sliced tomatoes, bacon, caramelized onions, or any other of your favourite grilled cheese toppings. For this recipe, I used butter on the bread for my grilled cheese to crisp it up and get that golden-brown toasted buttery goodness, but, a pro tip is to use mayo on the outside of your bread instead. It’s up to you how you choose to make your grilled cheese in the end, but the mayo trick is a game changer. If you want to find out how to make my Smoked Tomato Soup with Crab Grilled Cheese, keep reading, or jump to the full recipe.



vine tomatoes and baby heirloom tomatoes in a cast iron pan with salt, olive oil and fresh thyme

Set smoker to 450F. Cut your vine tomatoes in half and place in a large cast iron pan with the baby heirloom tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tbsps olive oil, season with salt and fresh time.


onions grilling on the plancha

Peel and cut your Spanish onion into quarters and place on the plancha with some canola oil to grill.


grilled onions, two heads of garlic and a lemon in a cast iron pan

Cut off the tops of the two heads of garlic and place in a separate cast iron pan. Place the grilled onion in with the garlic, drizzle with 2-3 tbsp olive oil. Cut the lemon in half and add to the pan.


the cast iron of tomatoes and the cast iron of the onions of garlic in the smoker

Cut off the tops of the two heads of garlic and place in a separate cast iron pan. Place the grilled onion in with the garlic, drizzle with 2-3 tbsp olive oil. Cut the lemon in half and add to the pan.


crab meat being shucked from the crab claws

Meanwhile, shuck your crab claws and place the meat in a bowl. Set aside.


grated fontina cheese

Grate your Fontina cheese. You can also choose to use another kind of cheese, if you want, like cheddar or and Italian blend.


chopped fresh basil with olive oil to make basil oil

Finely chop the fresh basil, drizzle with olive oil and continue to chop, then set aside.


crab meat in butter grilling on the plancha

Melt your butter and drizzle on the plancha. Add the crab meat to the butter to cook.


melted butter being poured over sourdough bread being toasted on the plancha

Slice three pieces of sourdough bread. Place your sliced sourdough on the plancha and drizzle with the melted butter, flip, to let both sides lightly toast.


melting cheese and crab meat on sourdough bread on the plancha

Add the shredded Fontina cheese to each slice of bread and allow to start to melt. Place the crab meat on two of the pieces of bread. Allow to keep cooking, the cheese to melt and the bread to toast and turn golden brown.


the smoked tomatoes and onions being added to the blender

Remove the tomatoes and onions from the smoker. Add the smoked tomatoes to your blender - make sure your blender can safely blend hot liquids. Add the grilled onions, squeeze the juice from the grilled lemon and squeeze out the garlic from both heads of garlic into your blender.


melted butter being added to the pureed smoked tomato soup in the blender

Blend. Drizzle in about 1-2 tbsp of the melted butter and continue to blend until smooth. Season with salt if needed.


the double-decker crab grilled cheese on the plancha

To build your grilled cheese, make one sandwich with one cheese-only piece of bread and one with cheese and crab. Add the second piece of bread with cheese and crab to the top or bottom of the first sandwich to make a double-decker grilled cheese.


the crab grilled cheese being cut in half

Remove from the grill and cut in half on a bias.


the smoked tomato soup being poured into a bowl with the crab grilled cheese cut in half

Place your grilled cheese on a plate and ladle soup into a bowl. Season the soup with fresh ground pepper and grated parm.


half of the crab grilled cheese being dipped into the smoked tomato soup topped with grated parmesan cheese and basil oil

Add a dollop of the chopped basil oil to the smoked tomato soup, give your grilled cheese a dip and dig in!


And now for the full recipe...


Smoked tomato soup with crab grilled cheese

Serves 2-4 people

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


Ingredients:

15 Vine tomatoes

1 pint baby heirloom tomatoes

1 Spanish onion

2 heads garlic

4-5 tbsps olive oil

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 lemon

1.5 tsp salt

3 slices sourdough bread

5oz-6oz shucked crab claw meat

½ cup fontina cheese, grated

¾ cup butter, melted

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

Fresh parmesan cheese

Pepper


How to Make Smoked Tomato Soup and Crab Grilled Cheese


Set smoker to 450F.


Cut your vine tomatoes in half and place in a large cast iron pan with the baby heirloom tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tbsps olive oil, season with salt and fresh time.


Peel and cut your Spanish onion into quarters and place on the plancha with some oil to grill. Cut off the tops of the two heads of garlic and place in a separate cast iron pan. Place the grilled onion in with the garlic, drizzle with 2-3 tbsp olive oil. Cut the lemon in half and add to the pan. Place both cast irons in the smoker for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, shuck your crab claws and place the meat in a bowl. Set aside. Grate your Fontina cheese. Finely chop the fresh basil, drizzle with olive oil and continue to chop, then set aside.


Slice three pieces of sourdough bread. Melt your butter and drizzle on the plancha. Add the crab meat to the butter. Place your sliced sourdough on the plancha and drizzle with the melted butter, flip, to let both sides lightly toast. Add the shredded Fontina cheese to each slice of bread and allow to start to melt. Place the crab meat on two of the pieces of bread. Allow to keep cooking, the cheese to melt and the bread to toast and turn golden brown.


Remove the tomatoes and onions from the smoker. Add the smoked tomatoes to your blender - make sure your blender can safely blend hot liquids. Add the grilled onions, squeeze the juice from the grilled lemon and squeeze out the garlic from both heads of garlic into your blender. Blend. Drizzle in about 1-2 tbsp of the melted butter and continue to blend until smooth. Season with salt if needed.


To build your grilled cheese, make one sandwich with one cheese-only piece of bread and one with cheese and crab. Add the second piece of bread with cheese and crab to the top or bottom of the first sandwich to make a double-decker grilled cheese. Remove from the grill and cut in half on a bias.


Place your grilled cheese on a plate and ladle soup into a bowl. Season the soup with fresh ground pepper, grated parm and a spoon of the chopped basil oil. Give your grilled cheese a dip and dig in!


Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you never miss out on a new recipe, follow me on all my social channels @chefmattbasile and check out my new project @alchemygrills for updates, recipes and videos.

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Matt Basile

MEET THE CHEF

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Chef Matt Basile is the founder of the Toronto-based street food brand, Fidel Gastro's, which, within four years, went from an underground sandwich pop-up to an internationally recognized food brand. Now almost a decade later, Matt has a still growing business of food experiences, restaurant consulting and new and exciting foodie-filled projects on the way. Matt always strives to be different in an industry steeped in tradition. Matt is also the author of the best-selling cookbooks Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life, and was the host of the travel food show Rebel Without a Kitchen for two seasons. More here!

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