It was supposed to be a Fall Friday dinner – hearty foods, rich and lush flavors – but Mother Nature decided not to fully cooperate. Temperatures spiked into the 80s but I had already decided that “Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese” was on the menu.
The dish is listed in quotes because it is a playful take on the children’s classic (which is something that I love when I’m sick – in case any of you ever need to know.) This Roasted Tomato Bisque with a Gorgonzola & Prosciutto Crostini is a low and slow dish that can be made faster – I am listing the “fast” way because that is the one I use most frequently.
Roasted Tomato Bisque with a Gorgonzola & Prosciutto Crostini – Serves Six
- 30 ounces of tomato sauce
- 1 pint of cognac
- 2 medium shallots
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 4 ounces of freshly grated parmesan
- 1 cup of half and half
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 12 leaves fresh basil
- 2 sticks of butter
- 6 tablespoons of flour
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ounces Prosciutto di Parma
- 1 country-style baguette
- 3 ounces of Gorgonzola
Thinly slice the shallots and set them aside. Chop the garlic and set aside. Cover both with a damp paper towel.
In a stock pot, melt one stick of butter over low-medium heat. When mostly melted, add the flour to the pot and whisk until blended. Add a sprinkle of salt and lower the heat. Stir frequently. The mixture, also known as a Roux, will require near constant attention – stir several times per minute – and will get progressively more brown. This picture* is pretty close to the color you want. It will take about 30-45 minutes to achieve this color.
If you have a Sous Chef in the kitchen, turn over the final fifteen minutes of stirring of the roux to him/her while you melt some butter in sauté pan and add the garlic. Let it simmer for a few minutes and add the shallots and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once the roux is almost at the right color, add a half a pint of cognac to the sauté pan. Strike a match (or tilt your pan if you’ve got a gas stove) to burn the alcohol away leaving just the flavor of the cognac. While this fire looks really cool in the kitchen, stop showing off and blow it out already. Add it directly into the roux, stir once, remove from heat and cover.
In the same sauté pan add a pat of butter and melt over medium heat. Slice the basil into strips and add to the pan. Let simmer for a couple of minutes and add most of the rest of the cognac and repeat the trick with the fire. Add to the roux pot.
Pour in the tomato sauce, the cream, one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon black pepper. Raise the heat to medium-low while stirring frequently. Just before it reaches the bubble point stir in the parmesan – adding the cheese slowly while whisking briskly. Once all of the cheese has been incorporated, add in the white wine. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer. Taste again – you have been tasting while cooking right? – and add salt and pepper to taste.
If you want an extra smooth consistency, then either run your immersion blender through the bisque or let the bisque cool completely and run it through a blender. The pureeing is an overrated step, but that is a personal choice.
Slice the baguette on the bias – you want the Crostini to be at least five inches long and one third an inch thick. Brush them with olive oil, place on a baking pan and into an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Let them toast for five minutes. Remove them from the oven and reset the oven to a low broil. Layer prosciutto atop each piece, and then top the meat with Gorgonzola and return to the oven. Make sure that the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven and not too close to the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted – about five minutes.
Serve with the Crostini on the side of the bowl or directly in the soup as I did and enjoy.
* this picture is not from my cooking but grabbed from somewhere on the interwebs; unfortunately I neglected to save the link.