Sunday, 22 September 2013

Soup Sunday: roasted tomatos and basil oil

The dark evenings and crisp autumn air is the season for soups. A bowl of steaming hot soup is so comforting and nurtures both the the body and soul. This week's Soup Sunday feasts on thick tomato soup that is mad of oven-roasted tomatos. It gets deeper flavour from tomato concentrate and - inspired by gazpacho - from a dash of red wine vinegar. This is a dairy-free vegan version but you can add richness with 1-2 dl cream. I mean, when did it ever make anything worse!

3-4 portions

900 g tomatos
1 large onion
2 big cloves of garlic
olive oil
oregano and/or thyme
salt, black pepper
sugar/ honey
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 generous tbsp tomato concentrate
1-2 dl vegetable stock

Cut the tomatos in half. Remove the hard core and cut the halves into two. Chop the onion and garlic roughly too. Spread either on a tray lined with parchment or into an oven dish, drizzle with 2-3 tbsp olive oil and season with salt, pepper, oregano and/or thyme. Don't forget to add a sprinkling of sugar (or honey) too. Roast at 150º for an hour or so and blizz in a blender adding some vegetable stock for desired consistency. Pour into a pot, add tomato paste and red wine vinegar. Check the seasoning and add more sugar/ seasoning as needed. Bring to boil and serve.

As good as the soup is, it's the basil oil that makes it great. Initially I was meaning to call it pistou, but my memory failed me miserably. Pistou is that French equivalent to pesto, but traditionally omits the pine nuts and not cheese. Which is what mine is missing...

A bunch of basil (a large handful of basil leaves)
0,5 dl pine nuts
1,5 dl olive oil
1 large clove of garlic (or 2 smaller ones)

Mash the ingredients (apart from the salt) into a paste using pestle and mortar or dump them in a blender. Grind until smooth and season. This vibrantly coloured oil also makes a lovey salad dressing!




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