In the frenetic energy of the harvest and canning and preserving, don't forget to enjoy the abundance in the moment and savor the flavors right then and there. I've been able to do that this year, and I've discovered a new favorite way to enjoy tomatoes. It's super simple, but because you're using the best produce at the best time of year, it's super delicious.
A simple bowl of homemade tomato soup made with homegrown tomatoes and plenty of garden herbs has become a new harvest standard. It's flexible for adding roasted vegetables to it if you want to bulk it up some, or to enjoy just as is with a side of garlic cheese toast. It keeps in the fridge well, and may even be better the second day once the flavors have mingled a bit.
We've been harvesting lots of tomatoes, but not enough to use for big canning recipes. Instead, I'm roasting them and some I've made into this fabulous soup. Here's how I do it...
Coat a lipped baking sheet with olive oil. Slice your roma tomatoes in half, and place them cut side down on the pan. I also like to throw in 6-7 cloves of garlic. Salt and pepper, and add some fennel seeds. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the tomatoes have turned crinkly and began to brown on top. Remove from oven.
In a soup pot, add the roasted tomatoes and a large container of chicken broth. Use an immersion blender to blend it all up, right in the pot. Add lots of favorite herbs from the garden, finely chopped. I like rosemary and thyme. Sometimes some sage. For a little heat, add a teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes. Let come to a boil and then simmer until it thickens to a consistency you like. I usually do this for about 20 minutes. For richness and smooth texture, stir in a little heavy cream towards the end.
I've done plenty of pans of tomatoes this way, and instead of making them into soup, I let them cool and drop them, usually about a pan per bag, into freezer bags. I'll be able to pull out a bag this winter and make the soup then, or use it as a base for more playing on variations of this soup. So while I'm preserving it for winter, I'm also making sure to enjoy it right now, too. It's a two-fer. A tomato two-fer? Whatever it is, it's delish.