Summer summed up in one bite.
Tomatoes and basil. Like peas in a pod.
Eating a garden fresh tomato epitomizes the season more than anything else. Even more than my first bite of a peach after a year’s longing for the fruit synonymous with Niagara. I imagine tasting the sun’s rays in each bite of red, yellor, orange, brown and green tomato — some sweet, some acidic, all of them juicy.
Basil is just like the cherry on top.
Easy. Summer. Food.
But this year, in addition to filling up on Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, I’ve taken to roasting my tomatoes whenever the occasion calls for it — or at least, whenever I can make the occasion call for it, which, lucky for me, is whenever I want. And that’s been often.
Chopped, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and into the over on 450F for 40 minutes, turning once and letting the skins brown. It’s heaven and it’s versatile, from tossing them with pasta topped with fresh basil to this simple tomato soup that induced lip-smacking and self-congratulatory back slapping for a job well done in the kitchen.
And all because I wanted to take the easy way out of dinner, as I’m often wont to do at this time of year.
All it takes is one hour — though most of that time can be spent sipping wine and relaxing — and five ingredients before slurping spoonfuls of summer.
Roasted tomato soup
Two to three pounds of tomatoes, roughly chopped into no more than halves or quarters depending on size of fruit
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 good pinches of salt (use more if using more tomatoes, otherwise you can season soup later with more salt)
1 small onion
1 bunch fresh basil
1 hot pepper (optional)
4-5 cloves of garlic smashed (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss the tomatoes with olive oil and salt in glass roasting dish. If you like, add a hot pepper and/or a few cloves of garlic. Roast in oven at 450°F for about 40 minutes or until tomatoes are browning, stirring halfway through roasting time.
In the meantime, cook a small onion until translucent. Add cooked tomatoes and basil leaves. Blend in with a hand-blender, let simmer for 15 minutes, salt and pepper to taste and serve. Garnish with a sprig of basil if you want to really impress.