A Note From the Chef:
From mid-August through mid-October tomatoes at the local farmer’s markets are sweet, abundant and the least expensive of the year. I sometimes ask the vendor if they will sell me their not-so-good looking ones at a discount for this recipe in mind. At the supermarket, I prefer Roma tomatoes because they have the least amount of seeds and are the most economical. However, cherry tomatoes can be deliciously sweet and work too. For large beefsteak tomatoes, I cut them in half and squeeze out the seeds as they can be bitter when cooked. No matter the tomato of choice, be sure to adjust the roasting time to assure the tomatoes don’t burn.
¼ cup olive, canola or vegetable oil (plus 2 tablespoons for sautéing)
1 large onion, medium dice
2 tablespoon garlic, minced
5# tomatoes (large tomatoes cut into ¼’s; medium tomatoes ½’d)
2 cups water (substitute chicken or vegetable stock, if desired)
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup heavy cream
Optional: ½ teaspoon chili flakes; basil leaves, picked
Preheat oven to 425*.
- Mix garlic and oil together in a bowl. Add tomatoes and mix all ingredients together.
- Place tomato mixture on a rimmed cookie sheet or Pyrex dish
- Bake 20 minutes, scraping the pan once to ensure the tomatoes don’t burn.
- While tomatoes are roasting, Sauté onion in a thick-bottomed saucepan, such as a Dutch oven, until translucent.
- Once tomatoes have been removed from the oven and slightly cooled, remove their skin.
- Add tomatoes mixture to the Dutch oven. Add water and salt(and optional chili flakes). Bring to a boil. Immediately turn down to a low simmer for 30 minutes.
- Process the soup in a blender, small batches at a time. Returning puree to the pan.
- Stir heavy cream into the puree while heating the soup for service.
- Taste for seasoning.
- Add optional basil leaves at the last moment. (A couple of drops of good extra virgin olive oil would be good here too.)
- Try adding fresh thyme to the tomatoes when roasting for something wonderfully different.
- Greek yogurt can be substituted for heavy cream
- Croutons? Oh yea! Who doesn’t love a little crunch?! For something over-the-top delicious, top the soup with herbed goat cheese croutons.
- Add (2)roasted red peppers to the soup the same time you add the tomatoes.
- Garnish: Save some of the heavy cream for drizzling atop the soup.
- Garnish: Roast cherry tomatoes. When cooled, mix them with herbs and extra virgin olive oil. Garnish the soup with this and be prepared to be kissed by your mother in law!
- San Marzano canned tomatoes are exceptional. Any canned whole or crushed tomato can be substituted for fresh ones in this recipe.