Office Bag Lunch: Chef Tom Douglas’s Tomato Soup
By Venessa Wong
November 16, 2012 3:12 PM EST
Photograph by Ed Anderson for Bloomberg

It’s been a big year for Seattle chef Tom Douglas, who, in addition to owning 13 restaurants, was named James Beard’s 2012 Outstanding Restaurateur. In late October, he also published his fourth book, , which rose to No. 14 on the New York Times bestseller list for advice and miscellaneous books. From the new book, Douglas shares a recipe for creamy tomato soup, which was inspired by his mother’s cooking. His mom admits that it “might be as good as hers,” Douglas says. “Now that’s a real compliment!”

Serves 6

1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
5 cups canned whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup water
2⁄3 cup heavy cream
2 tbs kosher salt, plus more as needed
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp dried oregano or
½ tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tbs sugar

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent—about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, cream, salt, red pepper flakes, celery seed, oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and purée in batches in the container of a blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning to taste with more salt and pepper.
3. Make croutons (see below).
4. Serve soup hot, garnished with croutons.

Brown butter croutons
3 tbs unsalted butter
4 slices European-style rustic bread, crusts removed, cut into ¾- to 1-inch cubes (30 to 36 cubes), kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the butter is golden brown and aromatic—about 3 minutes after the butter melts. Remove from the heat. Put the bread cubes in a bowl and pour the brown butter over them, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake until the croutons are toasted and golden—about 20 minutes—stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven.

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