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Eye-Popping Soup

A bowl of hot tomato soup will leave you cold if it stares back.

Eye-Popping Soup

Source: Halloween 2004, October 2004

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs oregano or marjoram
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 pitted black Kalamata olives
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound (about 30) bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella balls)
  • 1 jar small pimiento-stuffed olives

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.

  2. Add wine, and cook until most liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stock, and oregano, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently until thickened, about 45 minutes.

  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove herbs. Puree soup in small batches until smooth. Return to pan, and slowly pour in half-and-half, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Meanwhile, make the bugs: Use a toothpick to pierce each Kalamata olive 4 times (all the way through to other side). Insert a rosemary leaf into each hole to make eight legs. Insert two pieces of chive into the small hole at the end of the olive to make antennae.

  5. Make the eyeballs: Using a small melon baller, scoop out a hole from each bocconcini. Have each pimiento-stuffed olive crosswise. Place a half, cut side out, in the hole in each bocconcini to make eyeballs.

  6. Ladle hot soup into shallow bowls. Float 4 or 5 eyeballs in soup, and place a bug on rim of each bowl.

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