Seasonal local food recipe No.199: Felicity’s perfect tomato soup

A conversation on Facebook reminds me of this delicious method of making tomato soup from Felicity Cloake in the Guardian. Roasting the tomatoes first gives it an exquisite, deep flavour. Best made with the freshly-harvested tomatoes, basil and onions from Camel CSA’s veg boxes. Excellent warm or cold.

Serves: 4
Preparation/cooking time (mostly roasting): 1½ hours

1kg ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of sugar
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Small bunch basil, separated into leaves and stalks
600ml chicken stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Preheat the oven to 190C and cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Arrange, cut-side up, in a baking dish, drizzle with half the oil and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Bake for about an hour, until softened and beginning to char around the edges.
Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat and add the onion, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 7 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, chop the basil stalks, and then add to the pan and cook for another minute.
Add the tomatoes, plus any juices from the dish, to the pan along with the stock. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Leave to cool slightly.
Use a blender to purée the soup, then stir in the vinegar and creme fraiche, and season to taste. Reheat gently, while you tear the basil leaves into pieces, then serve with these and a drizzle of olive oil on top.

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