Tomato, Eggplant, and Crab Soup

Roasting the vegetables for this soup before adding them brings out all their sweetness and subtle flavors. The soup is great served hot or chilled.

Serves: 4 - 6

4 Eggplant
2 lb. Ripe Tomatoes (halved)
6 garlic cloves, skins left on
4-5 tbls. Light Olive Oil
2 Onions (peeled and roughly chopped)
1 1/2 qts. Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
2 tbls. Fresh Tarragon (chopped)
1 tbls. Tomato Puree
2/3 cup Dry White Wine
12 oz. Canned Crab Meat (drained and broken into flakes)
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sprigs of Tarragon (for garnish)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Peel the eggplant thinly and cut the flesh into cubes about 1-inch square Put Into a baking tray and drizzle over a little olive oil. Put the tomato halves and the garlic cloves on a separate baking tray and brush with a little olive oil.

2. Roast the vegetables and garlic for 30 minutes. After 15-20 minutes, check the garlic. If it has begun to dry and turn brown, remove it. Cool and then squeeze the garlic pulp from the skins. Scoop the tomato flesh and juice from the tomato skins, discarding the skins.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onions until soft and transparent. Add tin eggplant, tomato, garlic, stock, tarragon, white wine, and tomato puree. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Allow the mixture to cool, then puree it in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pan and stir in the crab meat. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and heat the soup through. Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh tarragon.

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