– The short of It –
Want an easy dinner? Ripe tomatoes? Dont feel like pasta? Deep velvety red and wonderfully aromatic soup to the rescue!
2kg of Ripe Tomatoes (I use a mix of cherry and roma)
2 brown onions, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt and sugar
Vege stock or vege stock cubes
Fresh basil, to serve
Roughly chop the tomatoes. If you are using cherry tomatoes they dont need to be chopped. Spread out in a large oven tray and generously drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle evenly with salt and sugar. This will caramelize and give your soup a wonderful depth of flavor.
Roast at 200C for 20-30 minutes or until skins have split and the house smells wonderful..
Put a good 2-3 tbls of olive oil in a large soup pan over a low heat and put in your onions and garlic while the pan is still cold. Saute for ten minutes, over a low heat, stirring occasionally. You dont want any color. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Potter about, dance if you like.
Scrape all the roasted tomatoes and juices into the onion mix and cover with water or stock by about 1 cm.
Bring to the boil. Turn down a little. Simmer 20 minutes.
Now for the blending. Take some liquid off first and add back if needed. Its easier to thin it out than try and thicken a watery soup.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty bread and some fresh torn basil. Feel the Joy.
(for something a little special put a bowl of grated parmesan on the table for sprinkling)
– The Long of It –
A ramble about this soup.. And about tomatoes.
I have been making this soup for years now. It is one of my favorites. It is outrageously simple but tastes wonderful.
I am a bit of a tomato snob. When I was a child we would wander barefoot out into our garden and pluck a ripe cherry tomato fresh from the bush, wrap it in a basil leaf and tada! best snack ever.. But the general tomatoes in Australia are terrible. The skin may be red but the inside is pale and watery with little flavor. A very firm tomato, ladies and gentlemen, is not a good tomato. Dont even get me started on those GM ‘sandwhich tomatos..’
I like to go the Farmers Market in brisbane where you can buy heirloom tomatoes. Their is a man who looks a little like a tomato himself and he has a table filled with lumpy ones, stripey ones, small ones, big ones, green ones, and yes, you dirty minded people, I am still talking about tomatoes.
And they dont just look different! They taste different too! The green zebra tomatoes are the most flavorsome of the green tomatoes…
But this is not always possible. And so this soup helps to bring out the flavor in even your blander, firmer supermarket tomatoes.
But at the moment I am in Italy! Ye gods, boys and girls! The tomatoes are fantastico! Your average beef tomato is red and ripe and juicy and cheap! It is rounded and warm and sometimes I want to put them next to my bedside table for decoration or take photos of them and display them on walls.. But I am a little crazy. You’ll get used to it. So with tomatoes this good, at 1.50 a kg, you see why this soup would be a gift to all.
But if you didnt know that tomatoes are more than j
ust vaguely bland and often crisp vegetables that make your sandwhich soggy or cut in wedges in the obligatory salad on the side of your plate – I suggest you make this soup and then go have a look at some homegrown tomatoes from a nearby farmer. It may just change your life…
A tomato should be like a woman; a little soft, pleasant to smell and better if left to grow in the sun.. They should be all shapes and sizes and colors and this just improves on their beauty and the overall experience…
A note on soups…
To add a little secret vavoom! to any soup you make, spend 5-10 minutes on your onion and garlic. This is the base of your flavor.
Put the onion and garlic (roughly chopped ) in a pan with the oil or butter on a low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, without allowing any color. This is called sauteing. But take it one step further. Keep cooking on a low heat till it gets super fragrant but still do not let it color. It will become soft and translucent and palely caramelized and a little sticky. Dont be shy with the oil..
Color in onion and garlic is wonderful but the flavor changes and is not what we are looking for here. A deep richness and sweetness will come from cooking your onion and garlic this way which will impart its sauve beauty to your soup.
So give it a try on the next soup you make. You’ll see the difference.