When fresh tomatoes are at their peak, their intense flavor makes this soup a treat. In winter, substitute vine-ripened hothouse tomatoes.
To make this plant based, leave out Parmesan cheese.
Heat the broiler (grill). Arrange the baguette slices on a broiler pan and top each slice with a sprinkling of basil, oregano and cheese. Place about 4 inches from the heat source and broil (grill) until the cheese is melted, 45 to 60 seconds. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Set aside.
Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the soup thickens, 20 to 25 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in small batches until smooth and return to the pan. Note: The soup will be hot. Fill blender or processor no more than one-third full to avoid burns.
Stir in the milk, salt and pepper and reheat gently. Ladle into individual bowls, garnish each with 2 slices of herb toast and serve.
This recipe is one of 150 recipes collected in "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook," published by Mayo Clinic Health Information and Oxmoor House, and winner of a James Beard award.
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