- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices uncooked bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 green onions chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 head Romaine lettuce cored and chopped or grated
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 1 dash crushed red pepper
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3-4 tablespoons creme fraiche or mayo (mayo, if you like it sweeter)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup packaged croutons, slightly crushed for garnish
- 1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium until shimmering. Add bacon pieces and cook until they begin to brown. Continue sauteeing to your desired level of crispiness. Add the green onions and onions cook until soft and translucent. Stir in the tomato paste and let heat for a minute or two to release its flavors.
Add the lettuce and tomatoes. When the lettuce begins to turn bright green, sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir well into the other ingredients. If the mixture is too dry or pasty, add a splash of the broth and mix to loosen.
Add the stock, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Turn heat to medium-high and bring soup to a gentle boil. Then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Turn heat to low.
Whisk the milk and 2 tablespoons of the creme fraiche in a small bowl. Add a ladle of soup into the dairy mixture and whisk until very smooth. Pour the tempered dairy mixture into the soup, blending well.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and swirl the remaining creme fraiche through the soup, topping with the crushed croutons and basil. Serve immediately.
Happy Eating! ~Jasper Owens