Meatless Monday Gourmet: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Waffle Sandwich with Tomato Soup

Gourmet DeRose Method Greenwich Village NYC

INGREDIENTS FOR GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

4 plum or medium heirloom tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Olive oil spray (for prepping cooking surfaces, i.e. waffle iron or oven cookware)
Kosher salt
Waffle batter (for more ease and speed use slices of country white bread)
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
2 ripe avocados, slices lengthwise
Heaps of Gruyere, Pepper jack, Swiss, and goat cheese (I like the logs with herbs)
Special equipment: waffle iron (many different styles but no need to get too fancy)

INSTRUCTIONS FOR GRILLED CHEESE

Roast the tomatoes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet cut-side down. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled, about 30-45 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat a waffle iron to medium-high. Spray cooking surface with olive oil spray (if using sliced bread, brush one side of each bread slice with melted butter). Pour the waffle batter and close the griddle to cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until very lightly browned.

Here you can go off the beaten path to experiment a little. I took out the lightly browned waffles and placed them on a oven safe bake sheet, layered all the cheeses and tomatoes on top of one waffle, placed the second waffle on top, pressed them together without smashing too much and let the cheeses melt while in the oven set at 350 degrees F. 

Otherwise, the simplified approach is to use bread, placing buttered side down, layer in the ingredients generously and place second slice of bread with buttered side up, close waffle griddle and let cook about 5-8 minutes until golden brown (there is no problem opening the griddle to see how everything is progressing since waffle griddles can heat differently). Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Cut in half and serve.

INGREDIENTS FOR TOMATO SOUP

2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
Kosher salt
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
3 (28-ounce) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes in their juices, preferably San Marzanos with basil
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
Heavy cream
5 twigs of fresh thyme

INSTRUCTIONS FOR TOMATO SOUP

Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the coconut oil, butter and diced onion. Cook covered, stirring occasionally (once a minute), until the onion is completely soft, about 10-15 minutes. (If at any point the onion looks like it’s beginning to brown, reduce the heat.) Add the garlic and optional red pepper flakes and cook covered for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. 

Increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan. Roughly crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until they’re hot and beginning to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Add the broth or water and bring to a simmer. Cook at a medium simmer until the tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes. 

Remove the soup from the heat and let cool uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Purée the soup directly in the saucepan using an immersion blender, or blend 3/4 of soup using a countertop blender, carefully puréeing the soup until smooth. Serve, adding about a tablespoon (or two) of heavy cream to each bowl as desired, and top with crushed black pepper and sea salt to taste.