When Bad Tomatoes Go Good
It’s late summer and the tomatoes are about to take over my yard. Thanks to my buddy Gini (co-worker AND personal chef, on the side) I have found the perfect solution to summer abundance. Got ugly fruit? Roast ’em – this is great for the overly ripe, not-so-pretty and slightly buggy (but easily editable) summer yumminess.
I was skeptical at first, I admit. I have bad, bad memories of eating cooked, unseasoned, stewed tomatoes. (They hadn’t discovered the joys of roasting in the 1970’s and early 80’s.) But this, this is gorgeous in its simplicity and I’m experimenting this year with cooking up a pile and freezing for winter soups and stews.
Adapted from Tyler Florence’s Roasted Tomato Soup
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of several varieties. I use roma, heirloom, beefsteak and cherry)
- several cloves of garlic, peeled.
- two yellow onions, in chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons butter
- chopped fresh basil leaves
- half and half or heavy cream, optional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Wash, core and cut the larger tomatoes into halves, leaving cherry tomatoes whole. Spread the tomatoes, garlic and onions onto a baking sheet.. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized and blackened.
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree tuntil smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with a splash of cream or half and half.