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Tomato and Tarragon Bread Soup
Tomato and Tarragon Bread Soup Photo courtesy of Francoise Nicol

We’ve been fans of Paris-born writer Clotilde Dusoulier since she launched her blog Chocolate & Zucchini nearly a decade ago. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to discover a more tangible collection of her market-driven recipes: The French Market Cookbook. In the just-released book, Dusoulier shares vegetarian recipes with an emphasis on putting everything to good use--from fresh shell beans to summer tomatoes. The latter appears in this resourceful tomato-bread soup, which is made with stale bread and peak-season tomatoes. The result is a chunky soup that’s perfect for a cool summer night.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 small yellow onion, finely sliced

10 fresh sage leaves, midveins removed and thinly sliced

Fine sea salt

2½ pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped

10 ounces stale country or sourdough bread (about ⅔ medium loaf)

4 cups low-sodium or homemade vegetable stock or broth

Hot sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves

1. In a large soup pot set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Mince 1 of the garlic cloves and add it to the pot with the onion, sage and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often to prevent browning, until the onion has softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, along with any juices and seeds, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

2. Cut one-third of the bread into slices measuring about ⅓ inch thick and set aside (you’ll be making croutons with those in a moment). Cut the remaining bread into rough cubes and add them to the pot. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the tomatoes and bread are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, toast the reserved slices of bread. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and, while the bread is still warm, rub both sides with the cut side of the halved garlic clove. Dice the bread into ¼-inch pieces to make croutons.

4. When the soup is done, add a few dashes of hot sauce to it, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the soup among 4 to 6 bowls. Season with the black pepper and top with the reserved croutons and tarragon. Serve immediately.

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