Warm Weather and Extended Tomato Season Turns this Summer Fruit into a Hearty Tomato and Garlic Soup for Fall

As much as I love tomatoes, it is a tad unsettling to still see field-grown (as opposed to greenhouse) tomatoes in large quantity in the farmers markets in the end of October in the Northeast. The significantly warmer fall has extended the tomato season well past summer, but the sun isn’t at its peak, so the tomatoes are a bit more acidic and don’t have quite the deep, sweet flavor of summer. Indeed, new tomatoes in the Campos garden are still coming in steadily, but with the low sun becoming increasingly blocked by nearby buildings, they don’t stand a very good chance of ripening, depending on when we finally do have our first frost.

But if the farmers are growing them out in their fields, I will buy them in small quantity, and use them in cooking, including tomato soups. They need a bit of help to bring out the sweetness, so slow-roasting them is a good way to do this and make a more complex tomato soup than from merely pureeing and simmering them. I roasted them together with fall onions, rosemary and a head of garlic, ran them through a food mill and simmered with basil and a bit of extra virgin olive oil. It was perfect meal with a half of a cheese panini and a small salad and again, definitely tasted like a fall rather than a summer soup.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

Ingredients
2 pounds large red tomatoes (I used beefsteak and threw in some cherries I also had)
1 large red onion
1 head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice tomatoes in half, then half again, then cut each piece into thirds. Cut onion into 1/2 inch slices. Place in bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Place whole garlic cloves in foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Wrap foil loosely.Spread the tomato mixture on sheet pan and place the foil-wrapped garlic on the same pan. Place pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 250 degrees and roast another hour or so, or until tomatoes are wrinkled, slightly caramelized but still have liquid in them. Remove and cool a bit.
  4. Remove garlic cloves from foil and peel. Place garlic with the roasted ingredients into a food mill and process using the coarse insert to remove tomato skins.
  5. Place tomato puree into a large saucepan and heat over medium low heat. Add chopped basil, and taste, adjusting seasonings. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
  6. Serve in bowls with a garnish of goat cheese crumbles and a fresh basil leaf, with a grilled cheese sandwich, salad or both.

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