I live in a four season climate and each season holds something special for me. Well before the fall foliage begins its colorful display I will notice the summer light has changed from high and bright to long and golden as summer gives way to autumn. I love summer for its warm weather, long days, and bountiful produce like corn, berries, peaches, and tomatoes. But as summer fades and the nights begin to have a chill I start to long for autumn, sweater weather, and soup.
My mother-in-law generously shares her garden's bounty with me. I turned these beautiful end-of-season tomatoes into a satisfying soup. The basil infused, condensed balsamic vinegar adds a punch of tart, sweet flavor. I keep a jar of the drizzle in the back of my refrigerator to sprinkle on just about everything from goat's cheese, salad, and meat, to fruit. In fact, I haven't found anything that I don't like it on. Do use an exhaust fan while reducing the vinegar as the smell can be a bit overwhelming.
Sprinkle tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Toss thinly sliced onions and garlic cloves with olive oil.
Roast in oven with tomatoes until brown and juicy. Keep a close eye so nothing burns.
Put tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a food processor or blender making sure to get all the juices from the pan. Purée until smooth.
Put mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and skin...
... resulting in a smooth, creamy soup.
Simmer balsamic vinegar with basil until reduced to a third of the original amount. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for much longer that you will probably have it since it is delicious on just about everything.
Roast Tomato and Onion Soup with Basil Balsamic Drizzle
2 pounds (900 g) tomatoes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup (250 ml) water or chicken stock
1 tablespoon sugar
4 basil leaves
Preheat oven to 350℉ (175℃). Core and quarter tomatoes spread on a baking sheet and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil. Thinly slice onions spread on another baking sheet, add peeled garlic cloves and toss with the other tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle tomatoes, onions, and garlic with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast until tomatoes and onions are soft and starting to brown from 30-40 minutes. Rotate pans and stir onions, so they don't burn.
Cool on pans for 10 minutes. Reserve a little bit of the roasted onion to garnish soup if desired. Set aside. Scrap tomatoes and their juices with the rest of the onions and garlic into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Put mixture through a sieve into a pan. Add water or chicken stock and sugar. Simmer on the stove 10-15 minutes. Add additional water or stock if too thick. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Thinly slice rolled up basil leaves into chiffonade. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with reserved roasted onion, basil, and basil balsamic drizzle. Serves 4. The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Basil Balsamic Drizzle
1 cup (250 ml) balsamic vinegar
several basil leaves, washed and dried
In a small sauce pan combine balsamic vinegar and basil leaves. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to a third of the original amount. It will be slightly thick and syrupy. It will get much thicker after it has been refrigerated. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
Thinly slice basil into chiffonade to garnish soup.