Check out your grocery store or farmers market right about now because I'll bet you'll find gorgeous tomatoes everywhere. Roma tomatoes are a bargain this time of year, and they are ideal for cooking in all sorts of recipes. Full of vitamin C and A, as well as lycopene, tomatoes are a healthy buy, too.
There is nothing better than a creamy tomato soup made from fresh summer tomatoes. Today's recipe "Creamy" Tomato Soup takes advantage of the roma tomato deluge and makes lunch. Since the tomatoes are more flavorful this time of year, I merely flash-roast them — about 10 or so minutes will do the trick — which keeps the oven use down to a minimum. (Sometimes, I grill them, uncut, instead, but I'll confess that's a bit messier.)
And my trick for creating that luscious pale-paprika-orange color that usually comes from a hefty dose of cream? Carrot! I cut up a large carrot (or two medium ones) and roast it right alongside the tomatoes, and it adds just enough yellow tone to give the tomato soup a "creamy" look.
Plus, the sugar in the carrot boosts the natural sweetness of the tomatoes. I add a tiny splash of balsamic vinegar, a couple fresh basil leaves from the garden, blend it all up, and the result is deep tomato flavor, perfectly balanced.
A drizzle of the best quality olive oil you own, just before eating will take this easy-to-make soup to the next level. Don't let the simplicity of the recipe fool you: the flavors marry perfectly. Load up on those roma tomatoes, give them a quick roast and you'll have a perfect summer soup on the table in no time.
"CREAMY" TOMATO SOUP
12 roma tomatoes, washed
1 large carrot, peeled (or 2 medium carrots)
1/2-1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
3 large leaves fresh basil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon high quality olive oil
Chopped fresh basil for garnish
Olive oil, in a mister
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tomatoes in half, slice out most of the stem. Cut the carrot into half lengthwise, and then again, into long, skinny quarters. Sprinkle the tomato halves and carrot quarters with a little salt and pepper, and mist well with the olive oil mister.
Line a large ridged baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the carrot quarters and the tomatoes (cut side down) on the parchment. (You may need two baking sheets to fit everything.) Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until the tomato edges begin to brown.
Remove the tray from the oven and use tongs to remove (and discard) the tomato skin. (If some skin remains, don't worry.) Place all the tomatoes and the carrot in a blender, scraping in any remaining juices roasted tomato bits into the blender too. Add 1/2 cup broth, the three basil leaves and balsamic vinegar and very carefully blend. (Leave the center of the blender lid off, and cover gently with a kitchen towel to avoid heat buildup.)
Blend until very smooth, adding more broth or water to achieve desired texture. Pour into a tureen, drizzle the teaspoon of high quality olive oil, and place chopped basil on top for serving.
Servings • 6
Start to finish • 30 minutes
Nutrition information per serving • 42 calories; 9 calories from fat; 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 198 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 2 g protein.