2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
5 cups canned whole tomatoes in their juice (from three 14-ounce cans)
1 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Four 3/4-inch-thick slices of white country bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 3/4-inch dice
In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the sliced onion and smashed garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the water, heavy cream, sugar, crushed red pepper, celery seed and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over moderately high heat until it begins to brown, about 1 minute. Scrape the browned butter into a medium bowl. Add the olive oil to the skillet. Add the diced bread and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is slightly browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer the bread to the browned butter and toss well.
Working in batches, transfer the tomato soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the soup to a clean pot and rewarm the soup if necessary. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the croutons.
What is your favorite thing to eat with tomato soup? Grilled cheese? salsa? sour cream?