Summer comfort food.

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When the wind is blustery and damp with snow, there are few things more satisfying than a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. Whether you keep it simple or gussy it up with roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs, the flavor is deep, rich and satisfying.

When the sun is bright and warm, and you’re dining outdoors, cooled by a light breeze, a rich, hearty tomato soup seems like a slap in the face to one of summer’s most treasured gifts from the garden. The good Lord already took care of packing sweet sugar and tart acidity into those tomatoes. Why do you have to go and play with it?

I wanted a soup – quick cooked to protect the freshness of the tomatoes. Few ingredients so you’re not wasting a perfectly beautiful summer afternoon locked up in the kitchen.

And I found it. A twenty minute soup. A simple bowl of summer.

Fresh Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 large, very ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 4-6 basil stems*
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Tomato oil**
  • Sherry vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, cut in thin strips
*My basil plants needed a break this weekend so I used cilantro. It was a different taste, for sure, but deep and more complex. Equally delicious.
**Another treat from Sapore Olive Oil and Vinegar on Capitol Hill. I have been burning through this stuff this spring, giving April-May tomatoes a July-August flavor. It’s a new pantry staple!

Directions:

  • Sauté onion in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat until soft and translucent.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes and basil stems and cook for 10-15 minutes until softened.
  • Pass soup through a food mill. If using a food processor, remove basil stems first. The food processor also removes the tomato stems for a smoother texture.
  • Return puree to pot, add a quarter cup of Fresh Tomato oil, and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes minutes to bring the flavors together.
  • Season to taste with additional Fresh Tomato oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. The vinegar is there to brighten the tomato flavors. If the ones you are using are nice and acidic, you may not need it.
  • Garnish with fresh basil and an additional drizzle of tomato oil.
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