The inspiration for this particular entry comes from fellow blogger Magda of My Little Expat Kitchen. Her entry last week for Cherry Tomato Jam sent me directly to the St. Philip's Farmers Market to buy some fresh heirloom tomatoes – Brandywine variety. Without her entry I might have forgotten that tomato season is upon us and that there is no time to be wasted! Eat them while you can, I say, and in whatever fashion makes for your quintessential summer meal. For Mark, it is simply slices of tomatoes still warm from the garden sprinkled with salt and pepper. For my friend Marylou, it is tomato sandwiches eaten over the kitchen sink, summer's juices flowing down her arms. For friend Susan it is a BLT on homemade white bread with thin slices of avocado. For Mark and me, when we lived in Maine, it was a summer salad of fresh tomatoes, corn-off-the-cob, lobster and basil – a combination of flavors to make your knees weak. But in my youth, it was my mother's tomato soup, hold the grilled cheese sandwich please!
Someone once asked me if I thought this was a waste of fresh tomatoes. Honestly, the thought had never occurred to me and my answer was a quick, "No!" Something that makes me this happy can't be a waste. I hope you get a chance to try this soup over the summer – and I would love to hear what you think.
Fresh Tomato Soup
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour
2 cups water
3 1/2 pounds perfectly ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, or 1 small bundle fresh
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup cream (optional)
In a soup kettle, over medium-low heat, melt the butter and cook the onion until soft – about 10 minutes. Stir in flour until blended and cook 1 minute. Slowly stir in water. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients except cream, and cook over medium-high heat until the soup comes to a boil. Reduce heat, cover loosely, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. At this point the soup needs to be puréed and strained to remove tomato skins and seeds. I put it through the fine disk of a food mill, but it can be blended and put through a fine-mesh sieve. Either way, strain into a clean pot, add cream (if using) and heat until almost at a boil. Serve with a lemon slice, if desired. Makes 8-10 cups.
As I mentioned, it freezes well before cream is added. Recipe can be halved, as well.