tomato soup with mint, chanterelles, dried tomatoes & spiced almonds

i have never been a great fan of creamy soups… that’s probably the reason why you won’t find many (or actually: none, apart from the odd pumpkin soup…) on here. it’s not that i wouldn’t eat them or actually, properly hate them…. but i’d always prefer a solid, chunky, hearty, surprising (in terms of consistency, color and bite) soup to a (in my opinion rather plain) creamy one. but what’s quite nice about creamy soups (if i do them justice) is that you can play around with the toppings. you can actually go crazy on them!

i usually like a bit of grated cheese, some roasted nuts, a dollop of yogurt or creme fraiche, a flavored or herbed oil or pesto, olives, spring onions or, the classic, bread crumbs, on top. but of course the options are limitless! it’s up to your imagination. 

this tomato soup though could be a favorite. it’s fragrant, tangy with a hint of sweetness, a bit of heat, a lot of depth, but still without tasting too complicated. it’s a pretty straight-forward dinner. the home made dried cherry tomato halves are the absolute super topping for it. the drying renders them sweet and flavorful. this soup will convert even a cream-soup-sceptic into a -lover.
tomato soup with mint, chanterelles, dried tomatoes & spiced almonds

1 large can whole tomatoes
2 cups good vegetable broth
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. maldon sea salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch chili flakes
1 tbsp. lemon zest, grated
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
for the toppings:
1 cup chanterelles, cleaned
1 cup almonds, without skins
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved horizontally
1 handful mint leaves, coarsely chopped
some olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
maldon sea salt
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. chili powder
bread on the side, if desired
for the soup, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. sweat the onion for a few minutes, until caramelized and slightly brown. add the garlic, sweat some more. add the tomatoes, broth, lemon zest, pepper and chili flakes and cook for 5 minutes. puree with the hand mixer. season with more salt if necessary, or a pinch of sugar, if you think it’s too sour. a drizzle of fresh lemon juice adds a nice tanginess, i quite liked it to complement to tomatoes. keep warm.
for the chanterelles:
just easily sweat them in some olive oil and a little butter. season with maldon sea salt. 
for the dried cherry tomatoes*:
half the tomatoes horizontally, and spread evenly on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with their faces showing up. season liberally with maldon sea salt. dry, in the pre-heated oven, on 150 degrees, for 2 hours. take out, let cool and store in an airtight container in a dry place for up to one week.
for the spiced almonds*:
combine the almonds with a few drops of olive oil, the curry powder and the chili. place in the oven, preheated on 200 degrees. toast for 2-4 minutes, all the while watching them carefully (as they can go quickly from browned to burnt…). when they smell nutty and are golden brown, you’re good to go. remove and let cool. store in an airtight container for up to one week.
assembling: place a ladle of the tomato soup in a cute bowl, carefully place some fried chanterelles on top, add a few dried tomato halves and – now for the interesting twist – add a sprinkle of chopped mint leaves. serve hot, with as much toppings on the side as there are left, for the eaters to help themselves. enjoy!
* best to be prepared ahead, as it will take some time. 
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