Serves 6.

Note: "When I was a kid and my mom made tomato soup, she would cut buttered toast into squares and float them on top of each bowl," writes Tom Douglas in "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook." "My twist on Mom's toast is to make brown butter croutons."

For croutons:

• 4-in. chunk (4 slices) rustic bread

• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For soup:

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

• 3 garlic cloves, smashed with side of a knife and peeled

• 5 c. (two 28-oz. cans) canned whole tomatoes in juice

• 1 c. water

• 2/3 c. heavy cream

• 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

• 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• 1/4 tsp. celery seed

• 1/4 tsp. dried oregano (or 1/2 tsp. freshly chopped oregano)

• 1 tbsp. sugar


To prepare croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a serrated knife, cut off and discard bread crusts, and cut bread into 3/4 - to 1-inch cubes.

In a small pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter and cook, stirring often, until butter is golden brown and aromatic, about 3 minutes after butter melts. Remove from heat.

Place bread cubes in a medium bowl and pour butter over them, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until croutons are toasted and golden, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from oven.

To prepare soup: In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, cream, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, celery seed, oregano and sugar. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and purée in batches in blender. Return soup to pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning to taste with more salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve hot, garnished with croutons.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 265 Fat 19 g Sodium 980 mg

Carbohydrates 22 g Saturated fat 10 g Calcium 130 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 50 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 vegetable, 1/2 bread/starch, 4 fat.

Editor's note: From an October Q&A with Seattle chef and cookbook author Tom Douglas. We love this soup.