Tomatoes, in various shapes, sizes and colors, nestle in baskets on the counter all summer for eating out of hand, slicing for sandwiches, dicing for salads. When their ripeness starts to run away from me, I put halved tomatoes on baking sheets to roast them to concentrated goodness.
Roasted tomatoes, and their cousins, green tomatillos, prove to be a handy staple for making quick soups, sauces, and salsas. They can be refrigerated for several days or frozen for months of use.
For a hot or cold tomato soup with a strong flavour, season ripe red tomatoes with salt, pepper, thyme and a little smoked paprika before roasting. Make sure to line the baking sheet with foil to catch any flavorful juices you may add to the soup. Make a vegetarian soup with vegetable stock or tomato juice.
Refrigerate the soup up to several days on hot summer days. To serve, add chunks of fresh mozzarella and chopped basil leaves for a soup reminiscent of our favorite Caprese salad. It is certainly just as refreshing.
Roasted tomatillos, whirled in the blender with green chile and cilantro, make a spicy salsa to serve with chips. Try a dollop of the salsa over the tomato soup – it will add spice and pungency.
Fresh Tomato Soup With Roasted Garlic And Tomatillo Salsa
Makes 4 servings
Note: Serve this soup warm or cold. If you’re serving the soup cold, you can replace the stock with unseasoned tomato juice, such as Pomi or Red Gold brands, for even more tomato juice.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon each: freshly ground black pepper, dried thyme leaves, smoked paprika
- 6 large ripe red round tomatoes (3 pounds total), stemmed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic in peel
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 to 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, optional
- 1 cup small dice fresh mozzarella cheese, about 5 ounces
- Tomatillo salsa, see recipe
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves or chopped cilantro
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees on convection or 425 degrees on conventional. Line a large baking tray with foil. Mix salt, pepper, thyme and paprika in a small bowl.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and place them cut-side up on the baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes evenly with oil and sprinkle with the salt mixture. Add garlic cloves to the pan.
3. Roast on top rack until tomatoes are golden brown and garlic is tender, about 40 minutes. Completely cool.
4. Peel the garlic and add it to a blender jar along with the tomato paste. Add 1/2 of the tomatoes and all of the pan juices to the blender. Add half of the broth. Cover the blender loosely with the lid and then with a kitchen towel. Mix until completely smooth. Transfer to a saucepan if you’re serving soup warm or in a container if you’re serving soup cold. Repeat to mix the remaining tomatoes with the remaining stock.
5. To serve the soup hot, gently heat it in the pan. To serve soup cold, refrigerate it well for several days. Stir in the cream if desired. Serve with cheese, sprigs of salsa and basil leaves.
Green Tomatillo Salsa
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 8 medium tomatillos (1 pound), peeled
- 1 small hot green chili, stemless, seeded, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons agave syrup or light-tasting honey
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1. Preheat the grill. Line a small metal baking pan with foil. Add tomatillos to the pan. Roast, 6 inches (15 cm) from heat, turning tomatillos once or twice, until golden brown and tender, 10 to 20 minutes.
2. Place the tomatillos and any accumulated juices in a blender. Add green chili and process with on/off turns into a raw puree. Add cilantro, agave, and salt and process to blend. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onion or chives. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate covered for up to a few days.
(JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking, and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods and has co-authored three cookbooks with Chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food for over four decades. , travel and dining.)