Tomato Soups for The End of Summer

We’re again at that time of the year in which tomatoes offer their best. And once again, we’re amazed how much can be done when tomatoes and olive oil get together, as we’ve shared in previous articles (Tomatoes, Again!, Tomatoes and Olive Oil: Best Friends Forever).

The simplicity of these dishes reminds us how many good things came out of making the best out of challenging times. In Italy they refer to this as “Cucina Povera” (Poor Kitchen”, or the cuisine of the humble people). Of course this was not something that happened only in Italy. Many of the great dishes from the Mediterranean, China or Brazil, just to mention the first cases that come to my mind, are a result of the creativity with which hard working people met the challenge of making the most out of what they had at hand. In most cases these people were peasants who were close to scarce though sound ingredients.

Two summer tomato soups offer testimony to that spirit. One, a Tuscan classic: Pappa al Pomodoro (tomato and bread soup). The other one, Cold Tomato Soup, that with variations, you find in many places of the Mediterranean.

Two of Pacific Sun Olive Oils (Proprietor’s Select and Tehama Blend) have distinctive tomato leaf aromas, and they’ll pair nicely with both soups.

A reminder that olive oil makes lycopene—an antioxidant presents in tomatoes—much more bio-available for us. The more you drizzle these soups with olive oil, the better. And of course we recommend that you get your tomatoes from farmer’s markets or from stores that source local, fresh tomatoes.

Pappa al Pomodoro
Serves 6

  • Olive oil for sauteing and for drizzling: either Proprietor’s Select or Tehama Blend
  • 1 liter / 1 quart / 4 cups of vegetable broth (I prefer to make the broth myself by boiling some onions, a bit of celery (not too much or it can give a too bitter flavor), some carrots, etc. There are plenty of recipes to make homemade vegetable broth.)
  • 2–3 lb. of peeled tomatoes, chopped—the tomatoes need to be quite ripe
  • Stale bread torn into small pieces, about 1” by 1” (if a little bigger that is OK)ideally from a white Tuscan bread or from any good white bread as a baguette, Ciabatta, etc. The amount of torn bread should be half as much as your chopped tomatoes.
  • 3–4 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of basil leaves
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:

Soak the bread in the vegetable broth.

In a pan, pour 15-20 ml of olive oil and add the garlic. Sauté lightly for just a couple of minutes (don’t let the garlic get brown). Add the peeled and seeded tomatoes and stir. Cook until the tomato paste is no longer liquid.

Add the bread and broth and keep cooking with low heat as the soup thickens (around 20-25 minutes).

Add sea salt and pepper to your taste.

Garnish with the basil leaves.

Drizzle with olive oil.

The soup is very tasty and can be enjoyed hot, warm or room temperature.


Cold Tomato Soup
Serves 6

  • Olive oil for sauteing and for drizzling: either Proprietor’s Select or Tehama Blend
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 lb. of peeled seeded tomatoes
  • 2 Quarts of water
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Chop finely the shallot, leeks, scallions and the garlic clove.

In a pan, pour 30ml of olive oil and sauté the chopped shallots, leeks, scallions. Cook until they’re tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook on low heat for another 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes become a sauce. Add the bay leaves.

Add the water and the other herbs.

Cook on low for 50 minutes.

Remove all the herbs.

Pour the soup in a blender and blend until reaching a uniform texture.

Refrigerate and serve cold, with some chopped parsley and drizzled olive oil and other complementary garnishes if you wish (grilled bread cubes, herbs, etc.).

Some people will enjoy some squeezed lemon on this soup, just before drizzling the olive oil.

Salud!
Pablo

Posted on Categories Recipes