I love growing tomatoes in the summer. This year I opted to not cage them, partly out of cheapness (not wanting to buy new cages), and partly out of curiosity to see what would happen if they sprawled all over the deck. Well, they did sprawl and they took up more room than they would have caged, however I don’t think it made any difference in the quantity or quality of fruit.
One of my favourite things about growing tomatoes is making tomato soup when the harvest is at its peak. This is a simple, fool-proof recipe. I haven’t tried it with store-bought tomatoes, but it should work just as well. There is no added cream, but it is a very creamy soup. I think this is due to the olive oil combining with the natural sugars of the tomatoes that are released during roasting. My husband said he would pay $30 for a bowl of this soup!
2-3 pounds of assorted fresh tomatoes
1/2 a red onion (or more if you love onion)
1/2 or 1 full bunch of fresh basil
4-6 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt and fresh black pepper
a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar
Gather tomatoes in 1 large or 2 medium size roasting dishes. I used a 9″ cake pan, and a ceramic dish. Cut the larger tomatoes in half or quarters, you can leave cherry and grape tomatoes as is. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop onion in chunks and divide over tomatoes. Throw in garlic cloves whole. Drizzle olive oil over mixture. Crack pepper and sprinkle salt on top. Give them a stir and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and add the basil. Return to oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly so you don’t burn yourself adding to the blender. Pour mixture in blender and add a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar. Blend together, taste for salt and pepper seasoning, adjust if necessary. Pour into bowls and garnish with grated parmesan and/or fresh basil. Serve with some slices of french bread, or if you want to get fancy, toast some french bread slices with a bit of olive oil and grated cheese to make crostinis.
*Update: I have also made many times adding the fresh basil at the blending stage, rather than roasting at the end and the flavour is equally delicious. I now have a convection toaster oven and usually roast in there on bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes total.