Grilled Vegetable Soup with Goat Cheese Toasts

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1 small eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1 medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1 medium red onion, cut crosswise into 4 slices
2 teaspoons olive oil plus more for brushing
1/2 each medium red and yellow bell pepper, halved lengthwise, or 1 whole red or yellow bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 cups broth or canned low-sodium broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
4 thick slices of country bread
3 ounces mild goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional

1. Light a grill or preheat the broiler. Brush the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and onion with olive oil. Grill the pepper quarters, skin sides down, for about 12 minutes, or until charred. Grill the eggplant, zucchini, squash and onion, turning occasionally, until tender but still firm: 6 to 8 minutes for the zucchini, squash and onion and 8 to 10 minutes for the eggplant. Peel the peppers and cut all the grilled vegetables into 1/2 -inch dice.

2. Heat the 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonreactive saucepan. Add the garlic and stir over moderate heat until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper and simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes. Add the grilled vegetables, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the basil and the oregano and simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes longer.

3. Grill the bread until toasted. Combine the cheese, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons basil and a generous grinding of pepper and stir until smooth; stir in the cream. Spread the goat cheese on the warm toasts and serve with the soup.



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