Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Soup with Rosemary Croutons

I would like to introduce the three on the right to you. They are, from left to right, Roma, Black Krim and Mr. Stripey. Fresh picked from my garden this morning and ready for the kitchen. The Roma probably looks pretty familiar to most of you, but the other two make not look so familiar. Both are Heirloom Tomatoes, and according to Wikipedia, an Heirloom Tomato can described many different ways. One point that is agreed upon is that they are not genetically modified, and are open pollinated. What I know is that since I began growing heirlooms and not hybrids a few years ago, my tomato plants are healthier and produce tastier, more "tomatoey" fruit. I only purchased 2 of each plant, which will give us more than enough to eat and share. I have several vining tomatoes, grape and yellow pear as well as a few mystery plants that have reseeded from last year. Still waiting to see what they will become.

The Black Krim is a Russian Heirloom. The fruits are rather large and misshapen. This one would not win any beauty contests. But the flavor! Nice and rich, a bit smokey even. Great just as they are off the vine or cooked up, as in this soup.

Mr. Stripey is a more brightly, bi-colored English Heirloom. The fruit is smaller and very mild. A great addition to any salad and a nice balance with the Black Krim.

I added a few Romas to the soup to give it a great body and a bit of thickness.

This fresh soup is a cinch to make. You can serve it at room temperature, cold from the fridge or hot like I did. The recipe is a great starter with lots of options. You can add a bit of heavy cream or half and half for a creamier version, spice it up with corn, black beans and chili powder, top it with a dab of diced cucumbers or even cook it down for a light pasta sauce.

Here is my recipe for a quick fresh, light tomato soup. The croutons give it a bit of crunch with a kick of rosemary which blends well with the basil and tomatoes.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Soup with Rosemary Croutons
makes 4-6 servings

4 1/2 pounds of assorted Heirloom Tomatoes
2 tbl good olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup of finely sliced red onion
splash of balsamic vinegar
5 slices of whole grain french bread
1/3 cup or so of fresh basil,thinly sliced
1 small sprig of rosemary,finely chopped

For the soup:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the tomatoes in half and place, cut side up, in a high sided baking pan, like a lasagna pan. Drizzle with the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then lay the onions all around and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes soften.

Prepped for the oven......
After 30 minutes, soft and juicy....

When the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, run them through a food mill. Turn the heat on the oven to 350 and toast 2 of the slices of bread, reserving the other 3 slices for the croutons. When the bread has cooled, break into chunks and chop up in a food processor (I used my small food processor). Add the bread to the pureed tomatoes and stir well. The bread will disintegrate and thicken the soup.

At this point, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and s& p to the soup to taste. Now you can chill and serve later either cold or heated, which is what I did. Top with the croutons and some finely sliced fresh basil.

For the croutons:

Cut the remaining 3 slices of bread into cubes. Heat a bit of olive oil over moderately high heat in a small pan. Add the bread, some salt and finely chopped rosemary and toss till bread is golden brown .


kat said...

This sounds like heaven. My heirlooms just aren't doing very well in the garden this year, guess I'll have to make a trip to the farmers market to make this

Maggie said...

I usually do gazpacho or cream of tomato but this sounds really simple and delicious. I'm a big fan of Mr. Stripeys but I love all the yellow/orange tomatoes.

Maria said...

This soup looks SO tasty!! I love frehs heirloom tomatoes and the rosemary croutons sound divine!