For much of this summer, I’ve been getting all my tomatoes from my own garden. When my wife and I threw a party recently, we needed more tomatoes than my plants could supply. I turned to my local grocery store for produce, and that’s when the trouble began.
We bought about a dozen organic plum tomatoes, hoping they would have good flavor. Slicing them open revealed the ugly truth. Not only were they tasteless, but they were mealy. These tomatoes were simply unserveable.
But what to do with them? I felt bad about throwing out so many tomatoes. Maybe I could rescue them by putting them in a soup.
The first step was to roast the tomatoes and concentrate their flavor. Then I mixed the roasted tomatoes with chicken stock and some roasted garlic I had made and pureed everything together. I added stock until I got it to the consistency I liked, and then seasoned with salt and pepper. I added croutons for crunch, plus fresh chopped basil for color and more flavor.
This is a very simple soup that doesn’t have many ingredients. With the ratios I made (and am publishing below), this will serve four people as an appetizer or side dish. It can be easily expanded and adjusted to your taste. If I didn’t have lots of mealy tomatoes to use, I would use whole canned tomatoes.
My dozen whole tomatoes turned into just 28 ounces of tomatoes once I seeded them all. After roasting, I had just 9 ounces left. But what was once inedible turned into the base for a fantastic soup.
- 12 plum tomatoes or three 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes; cut into wedges and drained, rinsed and seeded
- 2 heads garlic, or about 2 tablespoons when roasted
- 3 cups low-salt chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Chopped fresh basil
To roast the garlic heads, slice off the tops of the cloves (leaving the head intact). Put the heads into a small baking dish or muffin tin. Pour a little olive oil over the heads and cover with aluminum foil.
To roast the tomatoes, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them out onto a sheet pan.
The garlic will be done when the cloves are fork-tender. Let the heads cool, then squeeze the cloves out with your fingers. The tomatoes will be done when they have started to brown on the bottom. They take about the same time; 45 minutes or so.
Step 2. Combine the tomatoes, garlic and 1 cup of chicken stock. One note on the garlic: I used 2 tablespoons of mashed roasted garlic, that isn’t quite two full heads. The roasted garlic becomes much sweeter and milder when roasted, but it does have a distinctive flavor. I recommend starting with the cloves from one head, then adding more if you want more garlic flavor.
Before serving, top with croutons and chopped basil. I’ve served this soup warm and cold. It’s refreshing cold, but tastier warm.