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Verses from my Kitchen: Dinner Soup & Sandwich

September 15, 2010

Dinner Soup & Sandwich

I know as well as anybody just how tough it is to put a fast, fresh meal on the table, and that particularly applies to weekday nights. Any meal is a great time to bring out a new recipe that gives you a new lease on the food you eat. Even with the rush of weekdays gripping us, we still need to be able to plate a great tasting meal that everybody is going to like. And we need to do it fast!

Tonight's dinner was simple and fast and super fresh. The only actual time required is the time it takes for a great soup to build on its flavour while it simmers in a pot on the stove. The true beauty of soup is the flexibility you have when you decide to make it.  You can make it as extravagant as you wish with stocks, purees and garnishes or you can go super simple. You can find a happy medium in there as well.  That's what I did with tonight's Potato and Leek Soup. On a busy weeknight I discard my cookbook and hit home with simple and fresh and fast. As you'll see below, that doesn't mean you discard the flavour.

With a good soup you have to have a good sandwich. I wanted to make a sandwich that would cooperate with weekday timing and balance the big flavours in the soup. Something that didn't need a lot of prep work and a sandwich that I could build the flavour from the marinate up. There's no point laying up with an easy sandwich that lacks all of the vital requirements.

A great sandwich must have a few things: 
  1. Great bread which is golden crusty on the outside and smooth and inviting on the inside.
  2. The Ingredients which can be as few or as many as you wish.
  3. The Preparation of the ingredients. The way you set it up speaks volumes.
With the abundance of yellow tomatoes sitting on the counter, I made a Pan-Toasted Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich. Wholemeal bread with tomatoes that were marinating in a garlic, olive oil base and cheese that was perfectly melted. There's something utterly fantastic about the combination of these flavours!

This isn't your everyday soup & sandwich but this dinner is definitely one worth writing about.

Pan-Toasted Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich:

Serves: 2

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced
4 slices of wholemeal bread (any good quality bread will work)
Mozzarella, sliced
8 basil leaves, plus extra to serve

1. In a shallow bowl put olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper and mix well. Add the sliced tomatoes and marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Brush one side of the bread with some of the olive oil from the tomatoes. Place cheese evenly on top of oiled bread slice.
3. Melt butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Place the 2 sandwiches in the pan and cover with a plate or another pan to weight it down. Cook sandwiches until golden brown on each side and the cheese beginning to melt.
4. Serve with extra basil leaves.
Let the tomatoes marinate!

Sandwiches hit the pan with the butter and oil at the perfect temperature!

Golden Brown Crust and Delicious Melted Cheese inside!

Potato and Leek Soup

Serves: 4

3 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 leeks (white part and a little green) thinly sliced
3 Yukon Gold potatoes
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 lemon juice and zest
sea salt & cracked pepper
6 cups chicken broth or stock
1.Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and leeks and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. 
2. Add the potatoes and season. Stir to coat well with the melted butter. 
3. Add the stock, bay leaves and thyme sprigs and cook until the potatoes are very soft, about 15-20 minutes. 
4. Puree soup in a food processor or blender.
5. Return to the pot and add lemon juice, zest and salt & pepper.
6. Serve. 

The Main Ingredients

Simmering away!

Potato & Leek Soup w/ garlic croutons and parsley for garish!


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