Fill a large 6-8 quart pot halfway full of water; bring to a boil.
Using a paring knife or parisienne scoop, remove the stems from the tomatoes, then make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath to cool. Allow the tomatoes to dry on towels or in a strainer for a few minutes. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Push as much of the juice through as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup.
Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno or tabasco, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to another bowl and blend with an immersion blender for 15 to 20. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 1-2 hrs. Serve with chiffonade of basil and crusty bread
Combine salt pork or bacon and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven. Over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and pork has begun to brown and crisp in spots, about 8 minutes. Add butter, onion, and celery. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened but not browned, about 4 minutes longer. Add flour, cook another minute. Add milk and clam juice, stir until it begins to thicken.
If using raw clams, steam with simmering water until opened, then allow to cool. Remove clams from shell and roughly chop.
Add potatoes, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and starting to break down, about 15 minutes. Add heavy cream, simmer, then add your clams. Adjust seasoning.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and fennel, thyme, parsley and bay, and sauté until lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the wine and vermouth. Simmer until reduced by ½. Add the fish stock and simmer 15 minutes. While the stock is simmering, puree the cooked rice or pass it through a food mill. After the fish stock et al is done simmering, strain it into another saucepot containing the cooked rice. Heat the cream separately and add it to the soup mixture. Add the crab meat and season to taste. Garnish each bowl with a parsley or thyme sprig.
In a large Dutch oven or large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions; cook onions are until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are only lightly browned. Do not caramelize.
Add wine and raise heat to high. Cook until the liquid has reduced by ¾.
Add stock, thyme and bay leaf to onions. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Add sherry. Remove from heat and remove bay and thyme sprigs. Adjust seasoning.
Heat the broiler. Cut two 1/2-inch baguette slices for every serving of soup. Place baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until crisp and dry but not browned, about 1 minute per side. Rub one side of each toast with the garlic clove and set aside.
Place crocks on a rimmed baking sheet, and ladle in soup. Top each serving of soup with two garlic-rubbed toasts. Divide cheese among the servings, covering the bread and some of the soup. Carefully transfer baking sheet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbling, 3-4 minutes…do not burn. Carefully remove crocks from oven, place on chargers and serve.