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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Last of the Red Hot Tomatoes

I recently got gifted with several pounds of THE LAST real tomatoes this season.

Since I couldn't eat them all fresh, I decided to try something that I had seen on Too Many Chefs. Meg's Roast Tomato and Onion Soup sounded like something to try; a non-fan of Cream of Tomato soup liked it.

Now I am one of those weirdoes who never liked cream of tomato in a can; my Mom Comfort Food from Campbell's was Chicken Noodle. (And cheddar cheese sandwiches any time!) I don't much like ketchup, either. I think I don't like what happens to tomatoes when they get really processed. I absolutely adore fresh ones (or minimally cooked) though. Oddly enough my mom, who loves Cream of Tomato (her attitude towards my dislike was "more for me"; it's not like I was a picky eater), is not much of a raw tomato fan.

But this soup had promise, and I have a spiffy new roasting pan, and had a whackload of tomatoes. So onward I forged. I preheated my oven to 400 F.

I had tomatoes of all sizes, so decided to fill my pan up (rather than count out twelve medium). I used my apple corer to take the stem ends off and lined them up in the pan, which I had lightly drizzled with oil.

Tomatoey Goodness

Then I put about five unpeeled cloves of garlic in. Some thyme would have been nice if I had had it, but I didn't, so I salted and peppered it.

In a much smaller pan, I put about six peeled shallots, and a couple more cloves of garlic. This was also oiled/salted/peppered. The reasoning behind seperate pans is that the tomatoes would otherwise boil the shallots. Good, but not roasted!

Then I put the pans in the oven. Since I had big tomatoes, they were in for about 1 1/4 hours (till they looked fairly liquid). The shallots really should come out after an hour.

Fish the garlic out and tip the rest into a soup pot. I peeled the tomatoes as much as possible (much easier after roasting) but did not seed them. Squeeze the garlic into the soup pot. Puree with your handy stick blender and heat through.

I had it the first night with goat cheese toasts and a little oregano sprinkled on it, but it was also very good with croutons (Meg had mentioned "gazpacho like", so I made the same kind of croutons I do with gazpacho).

Soup's On!

It was as good as it looks. The fresh tomato taste really came through.

This is probably real doable with questionable winter romas, although they will not generate as much juice, and a spoonful of sugar as roasting may punch it up.

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