This has been the summer for tomatoes.
Ten pounds of almost ripe heirlooms meant that we would eat a different tomato dish each night. I brought along ingredients to make a pizza, salad, soup, and a tart.
The first night, I cooked a tomato, eggplant, and caramelized onion pizza on spelt biscuit dough. When I cut into the heirlooms, I felt as if I were in front of a Mark Rothko painting, breathless and awe-struck.
The tomatoes are equally vivid.
That’s where my tomato vision ended. The rest of the week, we relaxed and dined out while the tomatoes took their time to ripen.
Again, I wrapped the tomatoes for our three hour return trip home.
We unloaded the car and then went straight to the garden to pick more tomatoes.
Without a doubt, I knew what was next on my tomato recipe list, Summer Tomato Soup swirled with Walnut Pesto and Oven-baked Croutons.
The soup practically cooks itself much like fresh tomato sauce.
You begin by heating the oil and butter then add the onions.
Cut up the tomatoes while the onions cook.
Add the tomatoes, honey, salt, and water to the soup pot.
Cook for three to four hours and stir the pot every so often.
Pass the tomatoes through a food mill or blend then strain the seeds and skins.
Prepare the Walnut Pesto and Oven-Baked Croutons while the soup sits over low heat.
Ladle into bowls.
Serve with pesto
Savor the by the spoonful.
To celebrate this fleeting tomato season along with the Mass Farmers Market week, I’m joining 70 plus state wide bloggers for the Loving Local Blogathon week. Hosted by In Our Grandmother’s Kitchens, Loving Local promotes locally grown food and also raises funds for the work of Mass Farmers Markets, the non-profit charitable organization that helps farmers markets throughout the Commonwealth. Donations can be made here.
What local flavors are you cooking up this week? I’m still looking to add to my tomato recipe collection, any suggestions?
Summer Tomato Soup
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
Yield 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup onions (diced)
5 pounds ripe red tomatoes (rinsed and cut into wedges)
1 teaspoon honey
fresh ground pepper
Heat the oil and butter in a wide soup pot over low heat. Add the onions and let them cook while you prepare the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours. Give the pot a stir every now and then as you pass through the kitchen to make sure the tomatoes aren’t sticking, but if you’ve used juicy ones there should be plenty of liquid. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill into a clean pot or use an immersion or regular blender to puree the soup then pass through a medium strainer to remove skins and seeds. You should have about a quart of soup. Taste for salt and season with fresh ground pepper.
Serve each bowl with a tablespoon of pesto. Top with oven baked croutons.
Yield about 1 cup
2 cups fresh basil leaves (rinsed and dried)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, garlic, walnuts, and 1/4 cup of oil in a food processor or blender. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add the Parmesan and process just to combine.
Yield about 4 servings
1/2 to 1 loaf good bread
fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F. Tear the bread into bite-size chunks and spread on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake undisturbed, until the croutons begin to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Then turn the slices or shake the pan to roll the cubes around a bit. Continue baking until they’re the desired color, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.