For our household the SuperBowl is more about food than the game. We tune in to watch and critique the commercials, and take the opportunity to talk and catch up over good food and wine. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup are a traditional pairing. We add a little twist by spicing up the sandwich with pepper jack and by adding a couple of flavor notes to the soup with crisp fried garlic and fresh basil.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
2 slices sandwich bread
1 slice each cheddar and pepper jack cheese
1 large basil leaf, julienned
Place griddle on medium-high heat. Apply butter to both sides of both slices of bread. Place one slice on the griddle, add one slice of cheese, the julienned basil leaf, the second slice of cheese, then the second slice of bread. Flip the sandwich over when one side is golden brown, then grill the other side to match.
Slice in half, then serve warm.
Scale the recipe to make the number of sandwiches you need.
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Tomato Basil Soup
2 T olive oil
2 t finely sliced garlic
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 t minced garlic
1 T Worcestershire sauce
3 cans (14 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
½ C chicken broth
10 large basil leaves, chopped
2 large basil leaves, julienned
½ C heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small frying pan heat 1 t olive oil over medium heat. Fry the sliced garlic until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on some paper towels.
Transfer the warm olive oil to a large pot and add the remaining olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat, then sauté the onion and minced garlic in olive oil until the onions are transparent. Add the remaining ingredients except the cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Puree the mixture with an immersion blender. Adjust the flavor to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cream, then adjust the flavor again as desired. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a slow boil, stirring frequently.
Serve hot, garnished with crisp garlic flakes and julienned basil.