Cold Comfort

Who says soup isn’t a summer dish? This month Fran Scibelli of Fran’s Filling Station in Dilworth serves up all of your favorite fresh, seasonal flavors in one cool bowl.



Photo by Justin Driscoll

Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup with Blue Crab & Charred Corn Relish

(Serves 4)

Ingredients for soup

2 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes (mixture of any or all – heirlooms, grape and plum tomatoes)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 quart vegetable stock or water

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika or more to taste

Zest of ½ medium orange

Scant ½ teaspoon ground allspice

¾ cup heavy cream, optional

Additional salt and pepper to taste


Directions for soup: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash, core, and cut the tomatoes into pieces. Spread the tomatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with ¼ cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.

In a large pot, melt butter on low heat and add onions. Raise heat to medium and cook onions for 8 minutes or so, until soft and just lightly golden. Add garlic and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove roasted tomatoes from the oven and transfer the pot with the onions and garlic. Add the stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Add honey and spices and, off heat, puree soup until smooth with an immersion blender. Return soup to low heat, add cream (if desired) and adjust consistency with remaining stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, bearing in mind that chilled soups may need additional seasoning. Refrigerate uncovered until soup is well chilled, at least one hour.


Ingredients for relish

2 ears sweet white corn on the cob, shucked and silk removed

1-2 tablespoons mild oil, such as canola or sunflower, divided

4 oz. fresh NC back fin crab, picked through for any shell or cartilage

4-5 large leaves fresh basil, finely julienned

Zest and juice of one lime

Salt & fresh pepper to taste

2-3 drops Tabasco or other hot sauce, optional


Directions for relish: Lightly brush corn with oil and place on charcoal or other grill on medium heat. Cook, turning frequently, for 4-5 minutes, until lightly charred evenly on all sides. Take off heat and leave until corn is cool enough to handle. Carefully cut kernels off cob with a sharp knife and place in a medium size bowl. Add next three ingredients to corn, tossing them lightly together. Add remaining oil, seasoning, and hot sauce to taste and retoss.


To serve: Ladle soup into four chilled soup bowls. Spoon one quarter of crab and corn relish into the center of the soup and garnish with additional basil if desired. A drizzle of basil oil around the relish is also beautiful and adds another layer of flavor.