Unlike most people, I suppose, I don’t have fond childhood memories of being comforted with a warm bowl of tomato soup when I was sick or even on a cold day. But it wasn’t because of bad parenting; I was just a very picky eater.
Not until many years later, well into adulthood, did I even dare to taste tomato soup, and that was at the one and only place I’ve ever eaten it—Soho South Cafe in Savannah, Georgia. Fortunately for me, the tomato basil bisque is always on the menu, because it’s the one thing I must have when I eat there–even if it’s 80 degrees outside. It’s just that good.
Many times I’ve thought about how convenient it would be to recreate Soho’s bowl of deliciousness at home. And just as many times I’ve thought about how whatever I did would fall short—or, maybe worse, turn me off to tomato soup for good.
For convenience, I’m leaning toward Southern Living’s version—the recipe promises that it takes 15 minutes total! Surely it’s because it uses canned tomato soup and canned fire-roasted tomatoes as its base, then easy add-ins like buttermilk, fresh basil and ground pepper cooked in a saucepan.
The finished product can be topped with even more fresh basil and ground pepper, as recommended, or Parmesan cheese.
Cooking Light’s version takes a few more steps but includes preparing toasted bread for dipping (a must, if you ask me). Those additional steps come in the form of sautéing the onion and garlic not found in Southern Living’s recipe.
Canned fire-roasted tomatoes are used in the presumably lighter version of the soup, but in this case, the mixture is cooked, blended and then put back into the saucepan to be seasoned before serving.
Low-fat cream cheese and low-fat milk cut calories in Cooking Light’s recipe as opposed to the buttermilk used in the Southern Living one, but that’s one of the few differences aside from the extra preparation time.
One key advantage to Cooking Light’s version is the toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with Asiago cheese to complement the soup. I’d say that’s probably worth the extra steps it takes to pull off this recipe.
Then again, adding bread to Southern Living’s 15-minute fix is easy enough if you’re crunched for time.