Recipe: Golden Palate: Ajax Tavern’s Tomato Panzanella Soup, Perfect for Summer in Aspen, Colorado!


At the famed Ajax Tavern at The Little Nell, a favorite at the base of Aspen Mountain by the Silver Queen Gondola.

Tomato Panzanella Soup


8 oz. ripe tomatoes, diced

4 yellow onion, chopped

1 small carrot, chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1clove1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup canned tomato puree

1/2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped

1 handful fresh basil, chopped

1/2 stick unsalted butter (may reduce for dietary purposes)

1 pinch chili flakes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large stockpot, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil until it is smoking. Then add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté them until they are translucent.

Next, add the chopped garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add the fresh tomatoes and the puree as well as one cup of water. Let the soup simmer on low heat for one hour. Then add the basil, oregano, chili flakes and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Use a blender to puree the soup until it is completely smooth. Return to the stockpot and reserve on low heat until service.

Soup should be served in a warm bowl topped with croutons and cherry tomatoes. Basil infused olive oil or extra virgin olive oil can be drizzled around the bowl as a garnish.

Optional: Croutons Dena Marino from Ajax Tavern, in Aspen, Colorado

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Tear the bread into medium-size pieces and place in a large bowl. In a large skillet, heat the butter until it is completely brown; almost black. This is very important for the flavor. Then add the chopped garlic and fresh thyme. Quickly pour the butter mixture over the torn bread and toss with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the prepared bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.

Bake until they are golden brown and crispy.

Crouton Ingredients:

1/2 small loaf day-old Italian bread

1 clove fresh garlic, chopped

1 pinch fresh chopped thyme

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Garnish


1 pint small cherry tomatoes

1 handful fresh basil, chopped

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Tomato garnish:

Cut the tomatoes in half and season with salt and pepper.

Coat the tomatoes with chopped basil and set aside until service. Tomato Panzanella Soup can be served cold or hot.


About Fred Bollaci

I'm CEO and President of Fred Bollaci Enterprises. I lost more than 100 pounds while living "La Dolce Vita" and I'm now known as "The Healthy Gourmet." Sample the good life with me through fitness, fine food, and good wine. Meet chefs who cater to a healthy gourmet lifestyle through my Golden Palate blog.
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