Cool 'n' Spicy Green Tomato Soup with Crab and Country Ham
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 ounces country ham or prosciutto, julienned
- 3 cups peeled and thinly sliced onions
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 jalapenos, stemmed and sliced
- 2 green Anaheim peppers
- 2 green pasilla chiles
- 4 pounds firm, green tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths and seeded
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Hot sauce
- 1/2 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro leaves
- Pinch freshly ground white pepper
- 8 tablespoons creme fraiche, for garnishing soup
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the ham, pan-fry until crispy and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove the crispy ham from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and set aside. To the oil remaining in the hot saucepan add the onions and saute until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and chiles, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of salt, and thyme and cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes soften. Add the water and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the tomatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Using a handheld blender, puree the soup until smooth. Chill the soup. Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and hot sauce, to taste, as desired.
While the soup is chilling, in a mixing bowl, combine the crabmeat, remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, basil, chives, cilantro, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the white pepper and toss gently to thoroughly combine.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and divide the crab salad among the bowls, about 3 tablespoons per bowl. Garnish each bowl with some of the crispy ham and a tablespoon of the creme fraiche. The soup can be served either chilled or warm.
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