Heirloom Tomato Soup

2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch red chili flakes
¼ C Zinfandel
4 C chicken or vegetable stock
4 C heirloom tomatoes, preferably Brandywine (use only one variety)
Mozzarella croutons (recipe follows)
4 medium basil leaves, chiffonade

Heat olive oil in stockpot. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and chili flakes, cook 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine, reduce by half, and add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to boil, once boiling reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

With a hand held buerre mixer, blend soup until smooth, and pass through a fine mesh strainer. Check for seasoning. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with two croutons and a sprinkling of basil.

Mozzarella Croutons
12 slices sourdough baguette
olive oil for brushing
2 large balls of fresh mozzarella (I prefer the lightly salted kind)

Preheat oven to 425°. Brush one side of baguette slice with olive oil. Arrange slices on a baking sheet, bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Reduce heat to 350°. Just before serving the soup, top croutons with a slice of mozzarella and place in the oven until cheese is slightly softened, approximately 2 minutes.

Serves 4

Pairs well with Lambert Bridge Chardonnay, Merlot or Zinfandel

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