You say tomato, I say “IT’S TOMA-TOH SEASON!” Our farmer’s markets are being invaded by these delicious gems of all varieties – the best of which being the heirlooms. Heirloom tomatoes, according to my dad and Wikipedia, are non-hybrid tomatoes, meaning they haven’t been genetically altered to withstand weather, transportation, insects, and Papa John’s pizza sauce makers. Not that I have anything against genetically mutated tomatoes – they’re the only ones you can find when you’re craving a tomato salad in January – but the O.G. heirlooms, though much more delicate, are riper, fresher, and have a ton more flavor. Buy them fresh and eat them quickly because they will spoil quickly (side-affects of not being a hybrid).
The season for heirlooms are the peak of summer time, which coincides with San Francisco’s foggiest, coldest weather. So for this reason I picked up some heirlooms at the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market and made what any rational San Franciscan would make in August: hot, roasted tomato soup.
Roasted Tomato, Tomat-oh Soup with Basil Olive Oil
Since tomatoes are the key ingredient in this recipe, make sure you buy the best you can find. I recommend heirloom tomatoes in all different varieties from local farmers for a rich, ripe tomato soup. The soup is made a touch spicy with a thai pepper and topped with avocado, basil olive oil and greek yogurt. It’s fresh, fast, and oh-so-tasty. Say tomato, tomato-oh and let’s get roasting!
Note 1: The basil olive oil for this recipe can be kept for about a month and used in multiple ways: drizzle on grilled bread, in scrambled eggs, finishing sauce for grilled fish, and over fresh greens.
Note 2:The recipe can be made vegetarian by subbing chicken stock with vegetable stock.
A big handful of basil (this is a scientific measurement, I swear)
1/2c olive oil (for basil olive oil)
2 pounds heirloom tomatos
2 cloves garlic, skins removed
1 thai chille pepper
1 small shallot, cut in 4
olive oil for roasting
salt & pepper
smaller handful of basil
1/2c chicken or vegetable stock
For topping: greek yogurt and avocado chunks
Set the oven to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half, removing any imperfections and stems. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle tomatoes, garlic, thai chili and shallot with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt & pepper and roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Note that your oven will likely smoke a bit using olive oil as olive oil has a low smoking point. We could solve your oven’s smoking problem by using a higher smoking point oil like vegetable or grape seed, but the taste of olive oil is super important in this recipe. Instead of solving the smoking problem, open your oven a few times during the process and open a window or back door.
And now for some photos of some roasting tomatoes…
Since we’re super efficient human beings, we’re going to make some basil olive oil while those tomatoes are roasting. It’s simple. Put olive oil in food processor, add a large handful of basil (equates to about 1/2c), puree and then add S&P to taste. Whee.
Set the basil olive oil aside, but don’t wash the food processor because (a) all those ingredients are in the soup anyway and (b) too lazy. Place all of the roasted things (tomatoes, garlic, shallot, thai chili pepper) in the food processor. Add the smaller handful of basil and chicken stock. Puree until you have your desired consistency.
This soup can be served cold or heated gently on the stove-top. I prefer warm as the slightly spicy soup is “cooled” by the delicious toppings. So top the soup with avocado, drizzled olive oil and greek yogurt, and say tomato-yummo!