One of the leaders of Philadelphia’s restaurant renaissance was Fritz Blank who opened the iconic Deux Cheminees restaurant in 1979. In 1979, I was a young woman of 29 years who had just given birth to her third son. Little did I know that this restaurant would become part of our family history.
In 2002 my oldest son, David, got married at Deux Cheminees. Chef Fritz prepared a beautiful room for the ceremony and a fabulous dinner. Fritz became fond of David because Fritz had a great love for classical music. He went out of his way to ensure that David and Hillary had the perfect setting and dinner for their wedding celebration.
The little boy who was born in 1979, Stephen, ended up working at this restaurant as a busboy. Chef Fritz took Steve under his wing and Chef generously shared so much of his knowledge about cooking and fine dining. A favorite of Stephen’s was Fritz’s tomato soup and Chef gave the recipe to Steve. I have adapted the recipe somewhat because the original recipe was in quantities that made a vat of soup.
FRITZ BLANK’S TOMATO SOUP
8 TBS unsalted butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 ½ tsp minced fresh basil, plus some for garnish
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 TBS flour
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup half & half
¼ cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
¼ cup honey
Salt, pepper and prosciutto and chopped egg for garnish
Melt 6 TBS butter over medium heat, sauté onion and dill until onion is transluscent, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a simmer then remove from heat.
In a small saucepan melt the remaining 2 TBS butter over medium heat, add the flour stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes without browning.
Add the cream and half & half, bring to a boil, stirring occaisionally. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in parsley and honey. Remove from the heat. Using a blender, or food processor, puree the cream mixture with the tomato mixture in batches.
Return all to the pot, stir and reheat over low heat, season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with basil, chopped egg, and prosciutto.
Happy 19th wedding anniversary to our much loved David and Hillary.
Talk soon, 💕❤️ Bernadette