Although tomatoes are synonymous with summer, I would almost consider them an Autumn fruit, at least here in Melbourne anyway. The best ones are usually had in February or March, so sweet from the warmth of a long summer. One of my favourite ways to enjoy them is in this delicious soup, which is so simple to make and requires very little active time in the kitchen. Roasting them makes them even sweeter, and paired with the basil and mozzarella, it’s just a lovely pure dish.
This soup is incredibly rustic and rather thick, so feel free to place the soup into a pot and thin out with some stock if you would like it to stretch a bit further. If you’re keeping it as it is though, and blitzing the tomatoes right away from the oven, you won’t need to heat it in a pot at all. While I’ve suggested adding the mozzarella directly into the soup, sometimes I sandwich slices of the milky cheese in between two slices of bread to make creamy grilled sandwiches which are also a sure winner. Make this soup when tomatoes are at their best, bursting red and full of flavour.
This recipe celebrates all that is good about easy summer eating.
JULIA’S Roasted tomato soup with basil and mozzarella (serves 4)
2kg Roma tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, left whole in their skin
3 shallots, roughly chopped
2 stems of basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Large handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
250g buffalo mozzarella, to serve
Grilled bread, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Halve the tomatoes and remove the core from the top. Arrange them cut side up onto a large roasting or baking tray. Tuck in the garlic, shallots and basil amongst the tomatoes and drizzle with the olive oil. Scatter generously with sea salt and roast for 1 1/2 hours or until the tomatoes have collapsed and have caramelised in spots. Remove the basil and discard. Squeeze the garlic from their skins and place in a food processor or blender along with the roasted tomatoes, shallots and any liquid at the bottom of the tray. Blitz until very smooth and season to taste
Meanwhile, for the oil, simply place the chopped basil in a small bowl and pour in enough olive oil to make it a spoonable consistency. Add enough red wine vinegar to give it some sharpness, a few teaspoons should be enough, and season to taste with sea salt.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls and tear in some mozzarella. Drizzle over some of the basil oil and serve with grilled bread.
What else I’m eating this month:
The fried shallot, cashew sour cream and pickled jalapeño at Old Palm Liquor in East Brunswick!
What else I’m cooking with:
Incredible Elberta peaches from Howieson Farm which I buy at the Flemington farmers market. They taste like peaches used to and should taste like! I just blanch them to take off their fuzzy skin and have been eating them with muesli, on top of pancakes and baked in galettes and cakes! ‘Tis the season!