Several weeks ago I wrote that “[a]s summer slides into fall there is only so much more time to enjoy one of the great joys of the late summer in San Diego, Gazpacho.” Now, as hints of fall have made their appearance in the air even here in San Diego – but with tomatoes still ripening on the vine – it is a different tomato soup that comes to mind, a Roasted Tomato Soup.
The warmer temperature and roasted flavors of this soup are perfect for the beginning of fall while still taking advantage of the fresh tomatoes that a Southern California garden still yields this late in the year. The perfect garnish for the soup is the very same basil leaves that we grow in the same half wine barrels as the tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato Soup on the Cusp
For the Soup:
- 2 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes (good quality canned will do fine)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 leek chopped
- 1 bulb fennel chopped
- 1 quart vegetable (or chicken) stock
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
For the garnish:
- 3 leaves fresh basil
- basil oil
- Roast the Tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, place them on a hotel pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are caramelized.
- Begin Building the Soup. Meanwhile, season the onions, carrots, leeks and fennel in a large soup pot with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Sweat the aromatic vegetables over low heat until translucent.
- Finish the Soup. Add the roasted tomatoes and stock to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about a third. Add the heavy cream.Purée the Soup. In a Vitamix or other high speed blender, puree the soup (working in batches). Strain the soup as you finish each batch. Taste the finished soup and adjust the seasonings. Check not only for salt and pepper, but if the soup needs a little brightness add a bit of sherry vinegar.
- Plate the Soup. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with a basil leaf and the basil oil.