Yeah, I know, I know! You may have read elsewhere that I had a thing for tomatoes this spring. And, well, they have been fruitful! We now have an entire freezer shelf devoted to frozen variations on this crop, as well as a growing shelf of canned ones. I do use them, however, as they are a staple starting point in many meals. And why not? Despite being associated with "Italian" cuisine, they are actually an all (South)American plant. I'm not sure how those 'Old World' signature dishes fared before European explorers introduced them to tomatoes, but they couldn't have been quite as tasty! Even then, tomatoes were often regarded as poisonous due to there taxonomic relationship to the nightshade species, long used by nefarious types in Europe to do away with one's adversaries. Nevertheless, here I am with a bumper crop......
One of my favorite uses this time of year is tomato soup. I guess it goes back to my childhood memories when my mother could always ply me into eating something with a hot bowl of orange goodness from that iconic red and white can and a nice wonder-bread PBJ sandwich. Yes, I will still go there on occasion, but not today. Today we have fresh tomatoes and a better home made version calls. And to top it off, it's as easy as it gets!
I've made several compilations of this meal this season and I am showing a few variations here. Roasting the tomatoes first, perhaps with some carrots and onions, was one. Other times it is just a matter of throwing the diced tomatoes in a large pot with a splash of olive oil and some salt. I typically use large tomatoes here (Brandywine and Mario's Italian), but smaller ones will work too.
Within 30 minutes or so, they will melt down into a fairly uniform sauce. I'll flavor them with a bit of red chili flake and black pepper. Because the larger tomatoes tend to be sweeter, I often add a dab of vinegar to boost the tangyness of the soup and some Worcestershire sauce to add some robust flavors. A food processor or blending stick can then smooth things out, including the skins. Some people like to strain the final product, but I just serve it whole. A good blending usually removes and chunky bits anyway. Cook the mix an additional 10-15 minutes to meld the flavors.
Top it off with some chopped chives and a dab of creme fraiche if you have it or sour cream if you don't. And, of course, a nice bowl of tomato soup wouldn't be complete without a grilled cheese sandwich to go with it! Smoked mozzerlla here! Umm! Umm! Good! :-)