Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"i'm telling you i caught the sun"

the food: Roasted Tomato Soup
the song: "Waiting for the Moon to Rise" Belle & Sebastian

A little while ago, I set off to post this delicious tomato soup recipe and got very distracted with a story about grilled cheese. I made this soup again last weekend and remembered just how good it is. Since we're talking seasonal food this month, tomato soup is a perfect way to use up a tomato surplus from your garden. Not necessary for me, unfortunately. My tomato plants hardly made a thing this year. They are huge and bushy, but have only given me a large handful of tiny cherry tomatoes. Oh well. At least they are cheap at the store.

I like this soup because it takes some time, but is so very simple and delicious. Yes, you the tomatoes have to cook quite a while, but once you get them in the oven, you can go sit down with a book, or clean up your kitchen, or catch up on all the Internet. Plus, roasting the tomatoes and garlic adds so much flavor and depth to tomato soup. This tastes nothing like the stuff that comes from a can. But I'm sure I didn't have to tell you that.

This recipe makes a lot of soup. It freezes like a dream and, like most soups, tastes even better after a day or two. Also, my directions about herbs might be a little confusing. Like a lot of home cooks with gardens, I never depend on exact measurements with herbs, because it always depends on what I have access to. Freshness is key, so use whatever you've got that you think would taste good. Basil is the go-to if you're buying herbs, but I also like the combination.

I got an immersion blender for my birthday (thanks, Dad & Linda!) and this was it's first test run. Kitchen gadgets aren't normally my thing, but after one use I'm already loving my immersion blender. If you don't have one, a regular blender works fine. Just be careful. I've made the mistake (more than once, sadly) of trapping all the steam in the blender, then splashing hot soup on myself when I flip the switch. I do a lot of things well, but I never claimed to have an abundance of common sense.

This should go without saying, but please make yourself a grilled cheese to go with the soup. The grilled cheese + tomato soup combo might be the most perfect marriage in the universe. If you want to make your grilled cheese fancy, go for it. There are tons of ideas out there. My favorite is a little pesto, mozzarella or gruyere, tomato, and parmesan cheese cooked onto the outside of the bread. Saturday we had sandwiches made with jalapeno bread and oaxaca cheese with leftover soup. It's hard to go wrong really. If you don't want the sandwich, you are a stronger person than I am. If the soup must fly solo, I recommend stirring in a little cheese on top to mellow the tartness of the tomatoes. Parmesan is good, goat is great.

Roasted Tomato Soup
adapted from Ina Garten

3 pounds ripe tomatoes (I used roma), sliced in half lengthwise
olive oil
salt & pepper
2 cups chopped onion
6-10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups vegetable broth (make your own, if you have time...it makes a big difference!)
large handful of your favorite herbs (basil if you're buying herbs. I used oregano, thyme, rosemary, and basil.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, peeled garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, flipping half way through.

In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, herbs, and stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Use your immersion blender or blend soup in batches to desired consistency. Taste for seasonings. Serve topped with cheese if you like.



  1. This sounds great! I'm going to try it out; hopefully Michael's parents have some left over tomatoes.

  2. I hope you like it! And with homegrowns, it will taste that much better. Mmmmm.
    Hope y'all are doing well! :)