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The Red and the White

August 13, 1992|BETTY ROSBOTTOM | Rosbottom is a cooking school director and author of the newly published "First Impressions" (William Morrow)

Fresh tomato soup with grilled scallops is an elegant dish that can be prepared a day ahead of time. It is quite simple to make. Chopped plum tomatoes are simmered in chicken stock along with onions, garlic and rosemary. When the vegetables are tender, the mixture is pureed and can then be refrigerated. Just before it's served, marinated sea scallops are quickly grilled or broiled and added to the reheated soup.

To complete the meal, consider making a savory pesto tart and a salad of mixed greens in a white-wine dressing. Chocolate brownies mounded with coffee ice cream and drizzled with warm fudge sauce is a perfect ending to a meal.

SUMMER TOMATO SOUP WITH GRILLED SCALLOPS

3/4 cup olive oil

4 1/2 cups chopped onions

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

4 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, stem ends cut off and tomatoes coarsely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste

Freshly ground pepper

6 cups chicken stock

Dash sugar, optional

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds sea scallops

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish, optional

Heat 7 tablespoons olive oil in large, heavy, non-aluminum pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute, stirring constantly, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper to taste and stock. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are quite tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and puree using food processor, blender or food mill. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. If soup seems little acidic, add dash sugar. Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated.

An hour before serving, prepare scallops. Remove and discard small piece of connective tissue on side of each scallop. Place scallops in glass or ceramic bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil in small bowl. Pour marinade over scallops and toss well. Cover and refrigerate 40 minutes, stirring several times.

Prepare grill or broiler and arrange rack 5 inches from heat. Thread scallops onto metal skewers and grill or broil until opaque and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes or longer. Watch carefully so scallops do not overcook and become dry.

To serve, reheat soup, stirring often, and ladle into 8 soup bowls. Divide scallops evenly and mound in center of each bowl. Garnish each serving with rosemary sprig. Makes 8 servings.

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