Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Roasted Tomato Soup

My grandma Shirley often asked--what seemed like nearly every time I saw her--if I liked tomatoes yet, and I was always indignant at her knowing implication that some day I would. Tomato soup sounded like the stupidest food ever--not only is it made of a hateful vegetable; it also has no substance--what's the point?

A decade or two later, I'm obviously eating my words. But in my defense, I think it also had to do with the quality of store-bought tomatoes. Someday I will have a garden and grow the best tomatoes in the world.

The First Mess is such a beautiful blog, both in terms of its recipes and in terms of their presentation. This recipe for roasted tomato soup was no exception. I halved the recipe and added a roasted red pepper.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup 
(from the first mess)

1 red bell pepper, fire roasted on a gas stove (black parts peeled off, seeded and de-stemmed, etc)
2-ish pounds of tomatoes
2 shallots, peeled
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped from stems
olive oil
salt + pepper
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2hours + drained
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup basil leaves, packed
1-2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Roast pepper; when cooled, prepare and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Cut any large tomatoes into quarters. Cut medium Tomatoes into halves and leave any cherry or grape tomatoes whole. Spread them out in a single layer on the baking sheet with any cut sides facing up. Cut peeled shallots into quarters and nestle amongst tomatoes. Stick garlic cloves into juicy spots of tomatoes or nestle them between cut tomatoes like the shallots (just to avoid burnt + bitter garlic).
4. Scatter thyme leaves on top of tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil on top of everything, using no more than 1 tablespoon. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and slide the tray into the oven. Roast for about an hour, or until the tomatoes have shrivelled up a bit and the shallots are soft. Let cool slightly.
5. In batches, blend the roasted tomatoes with the soaked cashews, tomato paste, basil, and vegetable stock until you have a smooth purée. Pour blended soup into a large pot. Once you’ve blended everything, including the accumulated juices in the baking sheet, add the balsamic vinegar to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, check it for seasoning + adjust, and serve hot with extra basil and olive oil drizzles.

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