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DAPHNE OZ Roasted Tomato Soup with Giant Cheesy Herb Croutons

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1/2 cup gruyere or parmesan cheese (grated)
3 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
8 slices whole wheat sourdough, peasant loaf, or baguette (1/2-inch thick)
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
3 1/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (cored, halved, sliced into wedges)
1 medium yellow onion (peeled, halved, quartered)
3 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
2 cups store-bought vegetable broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped, for serving)

Adjust the oven racks so that the oven will fit both a large roasting pan and a rimmed baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
For the Giant Cheesy Herb Croutons: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, add the cheese, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt, and stir to combine. Season with pepper. Arrange the bread slices on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Drizzle the slices with olive oil. Toast in the oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.
For the Roasted Tomato Soup: In a large roasting pan or baking dish, add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to toss to combine. Roast the vegetables in the oven until the tomatoes are very soft and juicy, about 30 minutes.
Let the vegetables cool slightly. Peel the garlic cloves. Heat a medium saucepan with the broth over medium heat. Transfer the vegetables and pan juices to a carafe of a blender and puree until smooth. Remove to the saucepan, add brown sugar and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and add more broth or water for a thinner soup. Serve warm garnished with a crouton, a drizzle of olive oil, and fresh basil.
Tip: 1. The croutons are the perfect way to use up day-old bread. Store them in a zip-top bag to use on salads and other soups throughout the week.
2. Use canned peeled whole tomatoes as a quick store-bought solution in the soup.

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