So, I had been emailing my mother (aww…) for one of the many tomato soup recipies that I love. What I finally realized is that tomato soup is whatever you want it to be. (gasp!)
Here’s the basic recipe I was given:
Barefoot Contessa roasted tomato-basil soup
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half length wise
1/4 cup plus 2 T good EVOO
1 T good salt (I just noticed this now. How absurd is this? What the crap is “good” salt? Jeffrey Steingarten already put this issue to rest in his article about salt. All salt is NaCl. Once it dissolves in a liquid, it is all the same. The only difference between any salt is the size of the crystal and the other minerals that are connected to it (such as that pink salt from japan). Asking for “good” salt in a recipe that is going to be dissolved is silly.)
1 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions (about 2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
28 ounces canned plum tomatoes with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 t. fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in one layer on baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes.
In an 8 qt. stockpot on med heat, saute the onions and garlic in 2 T of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes, for 10 minutes, until onions begin to brown. Add canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including liquid on baking sheet. Bring to boil and simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for further seasoning. Serve hot or cold.
Serves 6-8 (really great for summer–a lighter version with no heavy cream)
Then I decided, screw that. I’ve totally got good tomato sauce already. What else do I have?
garlic IN oil Note: this is something I came across for the first time, here. What Donatella does is she takes garlic with the skin on and purees it, then lets it sit in oil, and keeps it that way. She only has to add a few drops to any dish to give it a distinct garlic flavor. What’s interesting about this, is she says that its really the skin that gives it a lot of potentcy. Once it has sat for a few days, all the garlic (including the skin) is completely edible. And tasty.)
crushed red pepper
I don’t need anythin else!
So I got to work.
Step one: Saute as much garlic and onions as you like in some oil. Cut em however you like. If you like big pieces, go ahead. I like little cubes.
Note: I am a onion and garlic fiend. What you see in this picture is the amount I used for ONE portion. My friends know this. I know this. You may not know this. Now you do. (When I go to Publix and get a sub, they often run out of onions because I ask for so many. You might as well call it an onion sandwich, with some tasty condiments. Like meat.)
Once they’re translucent (not brown, I like em to have some crunch), add yer tomato sauce. I had just cooked some tomatoes in oil with a bit of dried mint (thats right. mint. wanna fight about it?) and had a big pot of it just sitting there, waiting, no, pleading with me to make him into soup. He (the soup) wanted it to have a real recipe so that I wouldn’t mess up. Boy did I prove him wrong.
Anyway, so you’ve got your onion, garlic, oil, tomato sauce mix now, right? Let it simmer for a bit, and taste it a couple times. Add some salt and pepper. How much did I add? Not sure, most of it got stuck to my fingers and I got annoyed with it. Somewhere in the neighborhood of “a pinch.”
So now, you could stop and say, screw all this fatty “butter and cream nonsense, I’m going to eat low fat foods and live to be 100!” Nonsense. Add the cream and the butter. It doesnt have to be a lot, just enough cream to make it lighter in color, and just enough butter to give it that great sheen.
After that you’re pretty much done.
Grab some fresh basil. At first I didn’t chop mine up, and just stuck it in the center to “look pretty.” Then I decided I didn’t care whatsoever for it to “look pretty” and chopped it up. It looked decidedly prettier after I chopped it.
Once the executive board met to decide on the drink (meaning, me and the pot of tomato sauce), we came to a concensus of iced coffee, which I promptly made (dirtying about half a dozen more things in the process.)
Ate I then did, promptly.