My relationship with Mr Tomato is like a story from a cheap romance novel or soap opera.
Stage 1: they hate each other’s guts – OK, tomatoes couldn’t care less, but I wouldn’t taste them if my life depended on it.
Stage 2: revelation – the moment happened when I was approximately 15, so you would expect one harmless adolescent crush. Yet, it was fatal.
Stage 3: all kinds of obstacles coming their way, trying to separate them once for good – when I was in my early 20s, scientists proclaimed that tomatoes were health hazard. I assume it had something to do with the way of growing and excessive usage of chemicals. Nevertheless I declared I’m fine with the inscription “She was killed by tomatoes” on my thumb stone because there was no chance I’ll give them up.
Stage 4: they lived happily ever after – well, I was ready to risk my life for this liason, wasn’t I? We celebrated our silver anniversary still deeply in love.
As you probably know by now, I adore tomatoes. I eat them fresh only when in season and my favorite by far are cherry tomatoes grown by my parents. They have a small organic garden and we usually eat sweet red balls straight from the vine.
Season lasts about 3 months and during that period most of the tomatoes are consumed fresh. Some of them will be freezed for winter stews and pasta, and all those softened or damaged pieces I’ll use for the soup.
To be honest, this recipe is so simple that I never considered it worth publishing. But few days ago I discussed lunch ideas with a colleague on the radio and she was genuinely surprised that I oven bake tomatoes for the soup. So I decided to do it anyway. Because, in my humble opinion, everybody should give this soup a chance.
It’s a 5 ingredients meal, but the most important are tomatoes, of course. You can use any sort that you like, as long as they are ripe, soft and juicy. For 4-6 people you will need
1 whole garlic (you can lower the quantity if you’re not a fan)
1 spoonful of dried thyme (or oregano if you prefer)
a pinch of sea salt
3 spoonfuls of extravirgin olive oil
Cut tomatoes in cubes, then peel and half garlic cloves. I always cut tomatoes over the tin I’m using for baking to avoid too much mess in the kitchen. Add olive oil, salt and thyme. Mix it well and bake on 200 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Once baked, blend to homogenize and season if needed.
And that’s it, so simple that you really can’t go wrong! Only thing you should avoid is baking out too much liquid because you’ll end up with puree. And after you concentrated that sweet tomato taste by baking it would be a shame to add water or even stock to achieve the desired consistency.
If you’d like to upgrade the soup serve it with a drizzle of nice extravirgin olive oil and roughly chopped pistachios or with a spoonful of fresh goat cheese and some fresh basil. I know Anthony Bourdain would be appalled, but my family loves it with a spoonful of basil pesto and few feta cubes. Feel free to find your own favorite combination and enjoy!