tomato soup 9 ways

This is a belly lab recipe by sister T, published in the autumn 2010 subscribers newsletter of bayfm99.9, edited by the lovely Paul – not just a funny face.

I love to make and eat tomato soup whenever tomatoes have a bit of taste. But it’s maybe best right now when the tomatoes are still full of the sun of summer but the season is about to end, soon they will still be around but mostly grown under cover locally, or grown far away.  And when there’s been a lot of rain you can buy tomatoes that are good value, not perfect but they still make very good soup if you buy them ripe and cook them quickly.

Roughly a kilo of tomatoes is good for two people.  I like to blanch them for no more than a minute in boiling water, peel them and chop them roughly seeds and all, but you could skip the peeling, or go extra smooth and get rid of the seeds too.  Put 1 to 2 spoonfuls of olive oil in a pot, add tomatoes and a pinch of salt.  The water in the tomatoes is enough to stop them burning. I find a teaspoonful of sugar never hurts even good tomatoes, it mellows their acidity, and a splash of balsamic vinegar also rounds out the taste.   Cook until soft on medium heat.   Mix in the pot with a stick mixer if possible (it’s the easiest and you don’t waste any tomatoey goodness).  Or put in batches through a food processor or a sieve.  Taste.  Decide if it’s thick enough or you need to cook it a little more, correct seasonings.

Now you can serve it hot or cold or room temperature, which is also handy at a time of year when the temperatures are all over the shop.  Freeze it.  Serve it as is or dress it up in lots of ways.  If you want to be glamorous, you could serve it in a shot glass as an appetiser.

To dress it up, you can choose one of:

* a drizzle of olive oil and chopped herbs
* cold with diced raw veg like capsicum, zucchini or cucumber & maybe some feta
* diced chargrilled veg like eggplant, fennel or zucchini
* elegant with some cooked peeled prawns and finely grated ginger- a really good flavour match.  Chargrilled scallops are good too, and squid.
* with a spoonful of pesto – classic basil or macadamia and rocket
* a spoonful of caramelised onions
* bread cubes fried in garlicky olive oil
* chopped black olives and parsley

Or let me know your favourite way – but really it’s wonderful just plain (yes that’s number 9).

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