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From My Kitchen: Soup and Salad with Crostini

A very simple way to dress up canned soup. You can assemble the salad while the crostini are baking. Be sure to use high-quality Parmesan cheese. If it's too much of a pain to grate your own, buy it pre-grated in the small containers available in the deli section of your grocery store. Don't ever use the stuff that comes in a green can. That's not Parmesan (it barely even qualifies as cheese) and won't melt properly. Depending on how hungry your family is, you can use three, four, or even five cans of soup. I recommend a tomato bisque or a minestrone, but you can use whatever soup strikes your fancy.

A long, thin (3 inch diameter) French-style baguette is easiest for making small crostini, but if that's unavailable, you can substitute a regular baguette. Just cut the slices into quarters before adding cheese. The bread needs to be sliced pretty thinly in order to crisp up nicely. Use a serrated knife to get nice thin slices.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Four servings

3, 4, or 5 15 oz. cans of tomato bisque or minestrone soup
1 long thin baguette, or regular-sized loaf of French bread, if small baguette is unavailable (see note, above.)
Approximately 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat soup in a saucepan. Keep warm over low heat while making crostini.

Slice baguette into 1/4 inch thin slices. Line a baking sheet with foil and place baguette slices onto sheet. Sprinkle cheese over bread slices. Bake about ten minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and turning golden (Start checking after five minutes. The slices are thin and will burn quickly). Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

While baking crostini, assemble the salad:

6 oz bag prewashed salad greens (Romaine, spinach, etc.)
Approximately 1/3 cup salad dressing (Balsamic vinaigrette, Italian, oil and vinegar, etc.)
6 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained, optional
Thin slices of red onion, optional
Sliced black olives, optional

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, increasing the amount of salad dressing if desired.

To serve: place soup in bowls, and top with two or three crostini apiece. Serve salad alongside, and top with additional crostini, if you like.



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