A bountiful supply of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes : in all shades of yellow and green, were the inspiration for this really tasty Roasted Heirloom Tomato soup. I had not seen, leave alone used, these tomatoes earlier, and they are so so tomatoey ( if that's a word), you really have to taste it to get the difference from the regular red hybrid varieties normally in use.
So what's a heirloom tomato- I had to check with good friend Wiki for this, and learnt that:An heirloom tomato (also called heritage tomato in the UK) is an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom cultivar of tomato. .. They are grown for a variety of reasons, such as historical interest, access to wider varieties, and by people who wish to save seeds from year to year, as well as for their taste, which is widely perceived to be better than modern tomatoes. They do, however, have a shorter shelf life and are less disease resistant than most commercial tomatoes.
Some research suggests that the cultivators grow red tomatoes at the cost of the sweetness of the fruit, and that it was 'discovered that the mutation that promoted uniform ripening had also knocked out a gene needed for the full development of sugars in the fruit.' I can well agree with this, the heirloom tomato has to be bitten into for the taste to be believed! And the colours and shapes! I think I will be feasting on tomato salads every day, now!
To make the Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup even more special, I added San Marzano tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and almonds.
Volumes/ quantities of the ingredients are not very important in making this soup, the list below is only a suggestion. The mix of tomatoes should be at least twice the volume of bell peppers to bring out the full flavours of the tomatoes. Instead of yellow and pale green tomatoes, if you opt for pink, peach and orange tomatoes, substitute the yellow bell pepper for a red one.
The actual preparation and making of the Roasted Heirloom Tomato soup is just about half an hour, the rest of the time is for the roasting and for cooling the soup before it is puréed.
Soup of Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Bell Pepper, Onion, fresh Chives & Basil
- 1 heirloom tomato Yellow
- 1 heirloom tomato Pale Green
- 6 cherry tomato Yellow
- 1 Sweet Bell Pepper Yellow
- 1 carrot
- 1 San Marzano Tomato Red
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Chives minced
- 1 tbsp basil minced
- 2 cups stock
- 1 tbsp almond flakes
- to taste salt
- 1 tsp pepper freshly ground
- Select firm tomatoes, not overly ripe ones. I have used large heirloom tomatoes, yellow and pale green in colour. If using smaller tomatoes, you may need to double the quantity to 4 pale coloured tomatoes each about the size of a tennis ball, instead of 2 heirloom tomatoes.
- If a thick soup is preferred, reduce the stock to one cup and double the total volume of tomatoes.
- If almond flakes are not available, blanch about 10 almonds, peel, and mince.
- Preheat the oven to 190 deg Celsius (about 375 deg F)
- Spray 2 baking trays with vegetable oil spray.
- Chop the heirloom tomatoes into about 8 pieces each. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Quarter the San Marzano tomato. Lay them all cut side down on one baking tray, sprinkle olive oil on the pieces.
- Halve and deeseed the bell pepper, slice each half into 2. Peel and halve the onion. Peel and dice the carrot or cut into rounds. Lay them all cut side down on the other baking tray and sprinkle olive oil. Add one clove of garlic with its peel intact.
- Place the trays in the oven, and roast the tomatoes, for about 45 minutes and the pepper, carrot and onion for about 60 minutes or till they begin to char.
- Remove the trays from the oven and quickly transfer the tomatoes and the other vegetables into a separate bowl each, and cover with cling wrap. Peel the larger tomatoes and the pepper when cool enough to touch. Cut away any charred parts. Slice the onion.
- Heat the oil, add chives and basil. Sauté for about a minute.
- Add the sliced onion, crush the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes on medium flame, taking care not to let the onions burn.
- Add the carrots, sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the peeled tomatoes and peppers and the cherry tomatoes. Sauté on low flame for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add fresh ground pepper and salt to taste.
- Add the stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the stove and allow to cool.
- Purée in small batches in a mixer or food processor, as the soup may splash when the mixer is being run.
- Set the puréed soup back on the stove, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Serve hot garnished with almond flakes and accompanied by slices of warm bread.