Spanish Grilled Cheese and Smoky Cream of Tomato Soup

Spanish grilled cheese and smoky cream of tomato soup paired with white wine

BC Wine Pairing; Sparkling or Sauvignon Blanc

Smoky Cream of Tomato Soup

1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
½ bulb fennel, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced or minced
800g good quality tinned tomatoes
400ml local 2% or Homogenized milk
300ml whipping cream
500ml vegetable stock
pinch fresh thyme
50g butter
25ml olive oil
15g smoked paprika (hot or semi-sweet)
minced chives to garnish

Get a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil. Add the onion, sweat for 2 minutes then add the fennel, celery and garlic. Cook down for 8-10 minutes until the onions are quite soft and fragrant. Add the smoked paprika and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Add cream, milk, and thyme, the let simmer for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are well cooked out.  Blend with a hand blender preferably. If you must use a Vitamix or a blender, be very careful and only fill the bowl halfway, as it will expand when turned on.
Check that the seasoning is to your preference and serve with some good quality extra virgin olive oil and chives to top.

Tomato Confit
250g grape or cherry tomatoes
pinch fresh thyme
50-80g butter
Get your pan hot, add butter and the tomatoes. Stew them down for 3-4 minutes deglaze with splash of white wine if you dare. Be careful as it will flambe or sputter if the pan is really hot.

Spanish Grilled Cheese
1-2 slices aged cheddar cheese
1-2 slices Swiss cheese
truffle aioli (mayo, garlic, lemon juice, tabasco, truffle paste)
3-5 pieces sliced Spanish serrano ham (use prosciutto if you can’t find serrano)
2 pieces good sourdough bread

Spread aioli on both pieces of bread but only the inside. Add cheddar to one side and Swiss to the other side. Add the serrano ham and fold sandwich together.
Get a heavy bottomed pan nice and warm, add butter and once melted place sando in the pan. Make sure you push it down to get a nice seal on the pan. Once nice and browned do the same on the other side.

Slice and serve.

Sommelier Emily Walker recommends: Township 7 Vineyards and Winery Seven Stars Sirius Sparkling and Cannon Estate Winery Bonhomous Sauvignon Blanc as the perfect BC wine pairing for this dish.

Recipe provided by: Chef Justin Witcher