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Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Parsley Croutons

2 pounds large, ripe, firm tomatoes
Olive oil to coat the tomatoes
8 shallots
1 small carrot
1 small fennel bulb
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
5-6 sprigs fresh tarragon
5-6 sprigs fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream

12 thin slices baguette
Olive oil to generously coat both sides of each piece of baguette
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/2 cup Teleme cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut tomatoes in half, seed them and coat them with olive oil.
Place tomatoes in a shallow baking dish and bake for 30 minutes,
turning every 10 minutes, until the skins begin to darken and
blister. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove skins and
reserve pulp and all the juices.

Coarsely chop the shallots, carrot and fennel. Melt butter in a
medium saucepan over medium heat and saute chopped vegetables until
they are very soft. Add the stock and herbs and simmer over low
heat for 30 minutes. Add the tomato pulp and reserved tomato
juices. Remove the herb sprigs. At this time you can either puree
the soup or if you like a smoother soup, run the pulp through a
food mill or fine sieve. Season with salt and pepper and extra
herbs if you like. Keep warm over low heat.

Lower the oven to 400 degrees F. To make the parsley croutons,
brush both sides of baguette slices with olive oil and place on a
baking sheet. Rub one side of baguette with garlic. Sprinkle with
cheese and garlic and bake until brown. Add the cream to the soup
and heat untill warm. Ladle soup into warm bowls and float 3
parsley croutons on top of each bowl.

Serves 4


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