After sampling some delicious tomato soups around town last week (Volunteer Park Cafe and Salumi), we decided to revitalize a recipe we used last year with some fresh ingredients from the West Seattle Farmers Market. The original recipe comes from one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and was always “just okay” in my book. This time I added a bay leaf, a pinch of all spice, and used some VERY ripe farmers market tomatoes, which made a huge difference in the flavor. I’m sad that we’ll be finishing this soup tonight – I wish I’d made enough for the entire winter. It’s easily the best soup I’ve ever made and I hope you will enjoy it too. As you can see, it pairs well with old-fashioned grilled cheese.
- 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 onions (I minced them with the garlic in the food processor)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch all spice
- 1 quart chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 40- 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the minched onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, bay leaf, pinch of all spice, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold. It also never hurts to add a dollop of creme fraiche on top.