Every time my husband comes up from the garden with the last of the cauliflower or a huge bunch of leeks or green onions, I find myself longing for the day when the tomato plants will be full of luscious ripe fruit. Funny since by the end of the season last year I was actually sick of fresh garden tomatoes. I think I moaned aloud when Clive brought the last few batches of tomatoes from the garden. And by batches, I mean about a 100 tomatoes each time.
Sad and disgraceful that I would ever find displeasure in our garden’s bounty, but after eating tomatoes fresh, making soups, salads, sauces, salsa and jams, canning them, roasting them, giving them away and putting them on top of most everything we ate last summer, I couldn’t help it.
But now I find myself longing for that burst of flavor that only a homegrown tomato has. One of the simplest and tastiest recipe I came across for using a large amount of tomatoes was Jamie Oliver’s Fresh Tomato Soup recipe.
Fresh Tomato Soup
Recipe adapted from Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 lbs large ripe tomatoes – leave a few of their little green leaves on
A handful of fresh basil
Sea salt and fresh pepper
White wine vinegar
5 -6 tbsp. cream
Extra virgin olive oil
Throw the carrots, garlic, tomatoes and most of the basil (set aside a few smaller leaves for a garnish) into a blender and blend until smooth. I found it easier to do this in several batches. Pour into a large saucepan and season well with salt and pepper. Simmer gently on medium low heat for about 20 minutes until it thickens up., stirring occasionally. Add a small drizzle of white wine vinegar and then bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, add the cream and remove from the heat. Serve as is or use an immersion hand blender to make it smooth. I skipped the last two steps because I felt it tasted fresher without the cream and I preferred the rustic texture. Serve with a few small basil leaves on top as a garnish
Jamie serves it with his cheesy cheddar toast soldiers and I served it with my sister and my famous “After Church Sunday Cheese Bread”. Any good cheesy toast recipe you have will do.
The Fay Sisters’ After Church Sunday Cheese Bread
2 slices whole wheat bread
Kraft Parmesan Cheese (any good parmesan will work but for nostalgia sake, I always use the good ol’ Kraft from the big green container)
Generously spread butter on one side of the bread. Sprinkle a healthy layer of parmesan cheese and spread it out evenly with a knife. Sprinkle a light dash of garlic powder over the cheese. Broil for a few minutes, until cheese is bubbling and starting to crust up and get brown. Enjoy dunked in the soup or on its own.