CHARRED TOMATO SOUP WITH CORN & PEPPER RELISH

marti

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CHARRED TOMATO SOUP WITH CORN & PEPPER RELISH

1 cup wood chips for smoking --

1 mesquite

2 ears corn

1 red bell pepper

2 1/2 lb roma tomatoes

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoon green onion; thinly

1 sliced

2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoon fresh sage; minced

4 sprigs sage; optional

4 pinch salt; to taste

If using mesquite chips, soak them in water to cover for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove husks and silks from about 1 3/4 pounds of corn on the cob. Stem, seed and halve lengthwise a red or orange bell pepper. Select ripe romas or Italian plum tomatoes; cut each in half lengthwise.

Drain chips well. In a barbecue with a lid, scatter half the chips over a solid bed of very hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 1 second). For gas grills, turn on high, let heat 10 minutes, then put half the chips in a foil pan and set directly on flame in a corner of the grill.

Place corn and pepper halves on a well-oiled grill 4 to 6 inches above coals. Close lid, open vents, and cook until vegetables are lightly charred, 8 to l0 minutes; turn occasionally during cooking. Remove from grill and set aside.

Scatter remaining chips over the coals (or place in the foil pan). Brush cut sides of tomatoes with olive oil. Place tomatoes cut sides down on the grill. Close lid and cook until tomatoes are slightly charred, about 7 minutes. With a spatula, carefully remove tomatoes from grill. Reserve 4 nice-looking tomato halves.

Place remaining tomatoes in a blender with the chicken broth. Whirl until smooth; blend in batches if necessary. Transfer tomato mixture to a 4- to 5-quart soup pan. Stir often over medium heat until steaming, 8 to 10 minutes.

While soup heats, cut corn from cobs and coarsely chop pepper. Mix together corn kernels, pepper, green onion, lime juice, and sage leaves.

Divide tomato soup equally among 4 bowls. Spoon equal amounts of corn relish into the center of the soup. Lay 1 reserved tomato half, cut side up, next to each pile of corn and garnish with a sage sprig. Add salt to taste.

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