Dear readers, I have good news! The roasted tomato soup is a winner! I’m actually writing a recipe post! Hip hip hooray!
I confess that I was not as enthusiastic about this soup the night I made it. The original recipe makes a chunky vegetable soup that you ladle over toasted garlic bread. While that sounded good in theory, I opted out of the garlic bread part and found that the chunky soup was just a little too rustic. Normally, I’m all about rustic cooking, but there were too many tomato skins and seeds for me to be thrilled about this soup. I was, in fact, so distracted by the texture that I barely considered the flavor. I’m sure it didn’t taste bad, but it needed help.
The last roasted tomato soup I made was a Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup. That soup blew me away with its complex flavor. It was rich and spicy, robust and so perfectly balanced that I crave it now, just thinking about it. I was hoping for a similar experience with the Italian-style roasted tomato soup on Sunday night, but instead I slunk away from the table, disappointed and pouting.
Thinking back to the black bean soup, I decided to experiment by throwing the roasted tomato soup leftovers into the blender and buzzing it to smoothness. I also felt hopeful that a few days of resting in the fridge might help the flavors to coalesce. After all, there was no reason why a soup with roasted onions and tomatoes, half a cup of roasted garlic, and a generous handful of fresh basil should be anything less than terrific. (Yes, you read that correctly: HALF A CUP of roasted garlic. It was insane. It was incredible. You must try it.) While I was prepared for my predictions to be wrong, as they often are, for once, I was right on the money. After a patient zhuzh in the blender, the soup was transformed. Gone were the distracting textural issues; in their place was a deep, wonderful soup, like the best tomato sauce you’ve ever had but even better. Even knowing what was in the soup, I found it hard to tease apart the flavors—they’d melded into something singularly delicious, something perfect for slurping from the spoon and dipping my bread into. It was ambrosial, this roasted but now chilled and blended soup. I highly recommend it, and the bread too, if you can find it. I bought a loaf of Blue Baker’s Italian Loaf, and it was wonderful. But really, I think any good sourdough or savory artisan bread would be nice with the soup.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Adapted from EatingWell
2 medium or large onions, sliced
2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste
20 ounces tiny tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
1/2 cup garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped (yes, half a cup!)
3 cups vegetable stock
Generous handful of fresh basil
1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2) In a 9x13-inch pan, toss together the onions, oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 18-20 minutes, until the onions start to brown.
3) Stir the tomatoes and garlic into the onion mixture. Roast for another 18-20 minutes, until the tomatoes start to collapse and the onions have browned some more.
4) Scrape the roasted vegetables into a soup pot. Add the vegetable stock, bring everything to a simmer, and turn off the heat. Let the soup rest for 10 minutes or longer.
5) Add the basil to the soup pot. In a blender, working in batches, puree the soup to smoothness. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.
6) Serve, either warm or at room temperature.