Chilled Tomato Soup


We lucked into a whole lot of very ripe tomatoes this week, which at first struck me as the unequivocal good fortune that it is, so early in July. As the days wore on, though, 17 tomatoes uneaten, excitement turned to a sort of low-grade dread, then briefly to panic yesterday morning when one of the beautiful orange ones was looking dangerously pruney. Wasted tomatoes are like the 10th or 11th deadly sin, so the situation was quickly becoming a matter of self preservation. Happily, a simple roasting with some whole baby onions, olive oil and dried herbs, and then a quick pass through the blender, turned those little time bombs into one lovely summer soup.

I haven’t used quantities in the ingredients list, since you will want to make this with whatever leftovers you happen to have. To give you a sense of proportion, I used 6 good-sized baby onions, plus a random leftover shallot, for our 17 small tomatoes.

Chilled Tomato Soup

Ripe tomatoes
Baby onions
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried thyme, marjoram and sage
Salt and pepper
Sherry vinegar
A pinch of sugar, optional
Sour cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 375.

Halve each tomato crosswise. Peel any unusable layers from the onions and remove greens and roots, but leave bulbs whole. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, and onions in a single layer in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and dried thyme, marjoram and sage (or whatever herbs sound good) – about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each herb. Roast for 70 minutes.

Let the veggies cool to room temperature before pureeing them, in batches if necessary, in a blender on high speed until smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve to remove seeds and skins, discarding what few solids there are. Season with salt, pepper and a tablespoon or so of sherry vinegar, to taste, along with a pinch of sugar if necessary. Chill in the refrigerator until cold. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Note: without the addition of liquid this soup is moderately thick, and 17 tomatoes didn’t make a huge amount (we fed three as a first course). You could thin it with some water or veggie or chicken stock and go a little heavier on the herbs, salt and pepper if you wanted.

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