Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heirloom Tomato Soup




I can hear the steady bubble emanating from the pot on the stove. Cupfuls of diced tomatoes mingle with onion and garlic, enveloping the kitchen in a wonderful aroma. These are the tomatoes that get relegated to the fridge. The ones that are beyond the realm of sandwich or salad. A little mushy, a bit too ripe..but still good, don't get me wrong! I have this thing about putting tomatoes in the fridge. Somehow their texture changes. The taste gets altered. But then that's me, my idiosyncrasy. I use the fridge only as a last resort. So the ones in today's soup are the ends, the mushy middles, the slices that don't make it between two slices of bread. 

My bumper tomato crop has me straining at the creative leash! After making chutney, marinara, numerous tomato related curries, frittata, salads and sandwiches..I have almost reached the end of my resources! Consequently a large number of these globes have now been relegated to the freezer. Yes... I just put them into Ziploc bags and freeze them. They are then perfect for a quick sauce, a curry or saute. Though, no salad for these babies!!! Defrosted, they turn into wonderful pulpy messes. I'm up to 8 gallon-sized bags. Fresh tomatoes for me through winter!

These heirlooms I use have completely weighed down the plant. They lie sprawled over Romas, and Big Boys. They are huge, as big as the palm of my hand! When you cut them open, you get yellow/orange flesh riddled with crevices. Perfect pockets for a drop of olive oil or some slivered basil. One slice and a dollop of green chutney on bread transports me to a crowded Bombay street. Two slices and fresh Mozzarella on a brioche bun and I am the happiest soul at lunch. I use one half as a base for burrata doused with olive oil. Heavenly! I can rhapsodize over the pleasures of heirlooms incessantly. But let me finish the meal at hand.


HEIRLOOM TOMATO SOUP
Makes 2 hearty portions or 4 small cups

1/2 red Onion
1 Garlic clove
3-4 cups heirloom Tomatoes or any tomatoes
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Cut onion and garlic clove into small dice.

Chop tomatoes into chunks.



Heat olive oil in a deep pan.

Add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes till onion is transparent.

Dump tomatoes into pan, stir and bring to a boil.

Once it boil, lower flame and let tomatoes simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing pulp with spoon. 



Puree pulp in a blender.

Pour puree into the pan, season with salt and let it come back to a low boil.



If you think it's too thick, add a few tablespoons of water.

Serve soup hot with crusty bread.


NOTES

I use heirlooms as I have an abundant crop. Please use any farmer's market fresh tomatoes. The quality of the tomato makes for the best tasting soup. Supermarket tomatoes just don't do the job. Sorry!!!

Blenders work the best with this soup. You could try an immersion blender, by the soup doesn't have a lot of liquid so you WILL wear the soup!!

For a sophisticated version, first blend and then strain the puree.




G says he's looking forward to lunch. The aromas are whetting his appetite. I toast a slice of sourdough to go with the soup. Bowls of soup sit side by side. A spoonful of this thick potion and our mouths fill with an amplified tomato volume. The orange colored creamy spoonful belies the simplicity of taste. I chew on bits of tomato and onion . A hint of garlic and flecks of skin give the soup a bite. The taste of fresh pureed tomatoes is indescribably good and wholesome. Toasted bread sops up soup instantly. Roast beef, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and arugula sandwiches come in a far second. We sip. We slurp. We savor. Sighs of contentment abound. Olive oil, onions, garlic and tomatoes, the fundamentals of life in my kitchen, come together in perfect harmony.  The intense flavor of a just-picked tomato spoils me for any other. I guess a little June spade work yields a big September bounty.