Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups soup and 3 crisps)
We've turned our favorite part of a grilled cheese sandwich—when the cheese hits the hot pan and becomes a lacy, golden crisp—into a garnish for quick, creamy tomato soup. Grated Parmesan cheese melts and melds with crispy panko breadcrumbs in the skillet into silver dollar-sized crisps, then are flipped to brown on the other side. If you don’t have half-and-half, stir a spoonful or two of the pureed soup into yogurt until smooth, then stir that mixture back into the soup.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 6 minutes. Stir in half-and-half and salt.
Place tomato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece from blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Cover opening with a kitchen towel (to avoid splatters); blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Combine panko, cheese, paprika, cumin, and red pepper in a bowl. Spoon about 2 tablespoons panko mixture in a small mound in pan; repeat 3 times to form 4 mounds. Gently pat mounds with the back of a spoon to flatten into 3-inch discs. Cook until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan; place on a wire rack. Repeat procedure 2 times to yield 12 crisps. Serve crisps with soup.
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