1/4cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing crisps
2medium onions, diced
2medium carrots, peeled and diced
2stalks celery, diced
1 1/2teaspoons salt, divided, plus additional for seasoning
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
2large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2baguette, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
1cup packed shredded Comté (2.5-ounces)
Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery, along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, along with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, partially covered, 10 to15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes and vegetables are tender.
Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice to taste.
In the meantime, make the Comté Crisps. Line the baguette slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush them lightly on both sides with olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly crisp on top. Turn the bread over and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp on the other side. Mound the Comté evenly over each crisp. Bake 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese is just melted. Serve warm or at room temperature with the soup.
Recipe courtesy of Comté Cheese Association, Nickie Sizemore