We’ve had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes this summer and we’re continuing to gather as many as we can before the first frost. The ones we grew last year were “Little Baby Girl” and were so sweet that they barely made it out of the garden into the kitchen! This year, we thought we had planted the same variety, but this was definitely not the case. This year our cherry tomatoes were a bit bigger, rounder and less sweet, so I was looking for recipes to enhance their flavor. A big favorite was the Tomato, Basil and Arugula Bruschetta from the wonderful Colleen Patrick Goudreau‘s delectable Vegan Table. I used spinach instead of arugula since my husband doesn’t care for the bitterness. I brought a tray to the neighborhood party and it vanished immediately.
So, it was cold outside this weekend and I happened upon this Tuscan Roasted Tomato Soup recipe from Ann Gentry’s new cookbook Vegan Family Meals. Oh my goodness, it was so delicious! I loved it with the herbed croutons, my husband preferred it without. In any case, the soup was gone in one evening!
Tuscan Roasted Tomato Soup
4 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered (you can use any kind or a mix)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
12 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 small red onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage (I used 1 teaspoon dried since that’s what I had)
5 cups cold water
For the optional herbed croutons
1/2 loaf crusty French bread, (about 8 ounces) crust removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Centigrade)
2. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the black pepper. Transfer the tomato mixture (including all of its liquid) to a large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer, skin side down. Roast until the tomatoes are charred on the edges, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly. Slip the skin off the tomatoes ( I left the skin on).
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Add the basil, parsley, and sage and saute for about 1 minute. (I only used 1 teaspoon of sage as I found this spice to be overwhelming).
4. Stir in the roasted tomatoes and garlic along with all the accumulated juices from the baking sheet and bring to a simmer. Add the water and simmer gently just until the flavors meld, about 8 minutes. If you want a smoother consistency, you can blend some of the soup with an immersion blender or a standing one.
Make the Croutons
5. While the soup simmers reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Toss the bread cubes, basil, dill, rosemary, black pepper, and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle the oil over the herbed bread cubes and toss to coat. Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the croutons are golden brown, tossing and stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
6. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with croutons if you wish. (This soup is best eaten the day it is made, but can be refrigerated for up to 1 day).