Sometimes, all you need to cook a delicious new dish is a gift and some forgetfulness. In this case, the gift was a plastic shopping bag full of brightly colored yellow tomatoes. These tomatoes were so bright, in fact I mistook them for oranges.
Of course I knew who had dropped them off in my booth. My most generous of neighbors at the market this year has been Faye of Innis Farms. Nearly each week, Faye presented me with bags and boxes and buckets of produce to use in my work at the market. Enough most weeks to use throughout the week at classes and at home. Faye is one of the reasons I hate to see the Farmers’ Market end this year. It’s exhausting work, but when you get to know people like Faye, it’s all worth it.
I never gave more than one thought to the tomatoes’ destiny. Roasted Tomato Soup. For weeks now, I have been conjuring up ideas for roasted tomatoes. Idea meets opportunity! We washed the tomatoes, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and put them in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Out of the oven, their skins – slightly charred after their stint in the heat – slipped off. Juices were sizzling on the pan and the kitchen smelled lovely.
Options are plentiful when dealing with a fresh, delicious product like these tomatoes. Cream soup would have been wonderful – no cream. Potatoes would have thickened the soup – a delicious option, but I didn’t want to cloud up the juices with potato. I decided that I needed to add a bit of vegetable broth, but I needed a roux to get the velvety texture that I wanted. Alas, my flour was at home. I knew exactly where I had left it.
I searched the kitchen and the church had no flour that I could pilfer. Not even a few tablespoons. I looked around at my neighboring vendors and asked my husband, “Who would have flour?” No one. I stuck my neck out. At the risk of perhaps ruining this lovely pot of roasted tomato jus, we decided to use the corn meal we had purchased to make fresh corn bread. Traditional tortilla soup is thickened with masa or tortillas, so I reasoned. What could go wrong? But I was still a bit worried.
Read on the get the full detail of the soup we put together. The votes were in and the soup was delicious. I promised to blog about it, and here it is.
Roasted Yellow Tomato Soup
12 large yellow tomatoes, washed
3 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2-3 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups chopped mixed yellow or red peppers – pimento, banana and bell
3 Tbls butter
1/4 cup white corn meal
Roast the washed tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet at 350 for about 45 minutes. Let cool until you can handle them. Peel and chop the tomatoes, discarding the peels, but collecting the juices along with the meat of the tomatoes.
Meanwhile, saute the onion in 2 Tbls of olive oil in a medium soup pot until they are softened. Add the minced garlic, stirring for about a minute. Add the chopped peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened. Add the butter, stirring to melt. Sprinkle over the corn meal and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add 2 cups of the vegetable broth and the collected tomatoes and juice to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add more broth to get the soup the consistency you like. Season with a bit more salt and pepper if needed. I would have added a pinch of cayenne, but that was left at home too.