Vegetable Potage with Comté Crisps
Comté crisps are the perfect accompaniment to a steaming bowl of vegetable potage, or thick soup. This version gets whizzed together in less than thirty minutes. Dunk a Comté crisp into the soup, take a cheesy bite, and welcome to heaven!
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery, along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, along with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, partially covered, 10-15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes and vegetables are tender.
Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice to taste.
In the meantime, make the Comté Crisps. Line the baguette slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush them lightly on both sides with olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake 4-6 minutes, or until lightly crisp on top. Turn the bread over and cook another 3-5 minutes, or until crisp on the other side. Mound the Comté evenly over each crisp. Bake 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is just melted. Serve warm or at room temperature with the soup.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Comté Cheese Association, Nicki Sizemore