Every spring I dig and plant with vigor and excitement. Come September I realize, tomatoes piling up, that I’ve done it again-planted way too many tomato plants.
So I start eating, canning, roasting and giving. It’s a wonderful/horrible thing. Tomatoes can’t be refrigerated so they just sit and look at me on the counter. Sometimes they start rotting on the bottom and the fruit flies come, reminding me of what a slacker I am. I get desperate. Something must be done, and quickly.
Enter the easiest, best tasting tomato soup there is. Roast your tomatoes with a few shallots, some olive oil, salt and pepper, puree, strain, season and enjoy a true taste of the end of summer.
Of course you don’t need tomatoes stalking you on your counter. Just hit up the prolific piles at the farmer’s markets this time of year. Soon they will be unloading them at amazing values, so keep an eye out.
Simplest Roasted Tomato Soup
Recipe from Rebecca Wheeler
Serves 3-4 people
About 3 pounds tomatoes (plum, beefsteak, whatever variety you like), cored and quartered
3-4 large shallots, peeled quartered
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, or garlic infused olive oil (see note below)
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the tomatoes and shallots in a single even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Don’t over crowd-eat a tomato if you have too many pieces.
Liberally drizzle olive oil, or better yet, garlic flavored oil, over the tomatoes and shallots and toss with your hands to evenly coat. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Roast until the tomatoes have some browned spots and the juices have started to caramelize and reduce, 20-30 minutes or longer, depending on your oven. Go by sight-the browning adds flavor but it’s the caramelized juices that are the umami bomb in the soup. Don’t go so far that the juices turn black on the edges.
Remove from the oven and scoop the tomatoes and shallots into a blender. Place the roasting pan on your stovetop, straddling a couple burners if possible. Turn the burners on to medium-high to get the pan hot again. Carefully add about a cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release any delicious caramelized juices (and clean your pan at the same time!). Carefully tip all the deglazed juices and bits into the blender with the tomatoes and shallots.
Blend the soup until it’s completely pureed. (Use extra caution as hot ingredients can force a blender top right off, decorating your ceiling or worse, so always vent your blender top or place a towel over the opening in the top of most blenders instead of sealing it). Strain the soup through a colander with fine holes, or a strainer. This gets out any bits of skin and the seeds and officially makes it dip worthy for grilled cheese. Taste and add as much kosher salt as needed to really make the tomato flavor pop. Don’t be shy. Enjoy now, or freeze for a winter throwback to summer.
Notes: Occasionally I add a splash (or more) of cream, but the tomatoes have been so flavorful it hasn’t needed it this summer. Add the cream if the soup seems too acidic or you just want an extra-comforting soup.
Garlic infused olive oil adds just the right flavor for this soup without overpowering. You can find garlic oil in many stores, but making your own is easy. I love this method from the blog Dash and Bella.