Summer has begun to unofficially wind down. People have left the city for one last go at a cabin get away, rendering the streets quiet and deserted, like a dying gold rush town of yesteryear. Lawns have fully transformed into bronze arid landscapes, while the drought in the province has turned the deciduous trees brown long before their time. In all the strange uneasiness of this seasonal metamorphosis, there is so much beauty to be had. The nights have begun to cool down, and the wind that combs through the fig branches outside of our open bedroom window like water, has finally returned.
What little garden produce that survived the extreme heat and aphids is heavy and gravid on the tired and limp branches. A few cabbages are coming along amongst the weeds and ever encroaching morning glory, which has tormented me all summer. But of all the things that grew and survived this year, I am most impressed with the tomatoes. Nothing quite compares with the plucking of a fresh tomato from the vine – firm, juicy, and perfumed with that green foliage scent that tickles your nose.
Like cooking with all good produce, less is more. Perfectly ripe summer crops (whether it be a peach, baby greens, or fresh peas) should be left to shine in all their glory. A simple roasting of these tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and concentrates their flavour, heightening their natural umami richness. While this may not be the canned tomato soup of your childhood, it is decadent and creamy and just as nostalgic (and the perfect match to a grilled cheese or some avocado toast!). Fresh botanical flavours like the clove and licorice notes of basil add those summery garden vibes that just can’t be matched. Like seriously the best.
While you may think soup is a strange summer food, I assure you that eating warm food when it’s warm outside does in fact cool you down. If you’re still in a part of the world battling the “it’s too hot to cook” kind of weather, try roasting the tomatoes first thing in the morning when the house is still nice and cool. And if that doesn’t work for you, you can also roast them a few days ahead of making the soup, or even give the old BBQ a try to get some nice smoky flavours on your tomatoes. Here’s to slowing down and taking it easy, and getting the last few weeks of summer in as best we can.
ROASTED TOMATO SOUP WITH SUNFLOWER CREAM
Serves 4. Print Recipe Here.
1.4 Kg (3 Pounds) of Tomatoes
4 Tbsp. Oil
2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Onion, Chopped (about 1 cup)
5 Cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Stalk of Celery Chopped (about 1/3 of a cup)
1 tsp. each Dried Thyme and Oregano
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 Sunflower Cream
4 Cups Veggie Stock
Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds, soaked in boiling water for at least 1 hour
3/4 Cup Water
- Begin by soaking the sunflower seeds and set aside. Next, chop your tomatoes. If you have larger ones like Roma or beefsteak, cut them in 1/4. Little ones like cherry tomatoes can be cut in half or roasted whole. Arrange the tomatoes on a parchment lined baking tray and drizzle with 3 Tbsp. of the oil and sprinkle with the 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Roast in a 190 C (375 F) oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This step can also be done a day or two ahead of making the soup.
- After the tomatoes are roasted, you can begin to make the soup. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil and the onion. Cook just until the onion begin to turns soft. Add the garlic, celery, and dried thyme and oregano and gently cook for another minute or two until the garlic begins to become fragrant. Next add the tomatoes and the veggie stock. Bring this mixture to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 40 minutes.
- When the soup is cooking make the sunflower cream. Drain the soak sunflower seeds and discard the water. Add them to a blender with 3/4 cup of fresh water. Puree until smooth
- Once the soup is cooked, add the fresh basil and puree with either an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Stir in the 1/2 cup sunflower cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with remaining sunflower cream and any fresh herbs you like.