Creamy Tomato Soup
My all time favorite vegetable is a tomato.
OK, so it’s not a vegetable, but still, close enough! Every year I plant 4 or five hearty, heirloom varieties of tomatoes, starting them indoors in April, gently fostering their growth throughout the month, and then transplanting them to the soil in mid to late May when the ground is ready, and the threat of frost is gone.
I love the whole process of it. From when I first poke that little seed into the dirt, to the curling green stems, popping out of the planter, to the feeling of satisfaction when I move my tender young plants out to the garden and place them in the soil, ‘on their own.’
But the best part of the whole process by far, is in late August. The sun is at it’s peak, the heat and humidity are making my hair frizz…and the tomatoes are hanging heavy on the vine. Deep red, sometimes with streaks of green or yellow, sometimes even getting cracks in their deep juicy flesh when I don’t get out there in time (or forget to water them everyday…) But always delicious. I can pick those hearty, juicy fruits right off the vine and eat them like an apple. Honestly, there is nothing better than a sun warmed tomato fresh off the plant. It’s like a little slice of heaven. Store bought tomatoes don’t even taste like tomatoes after you’ve had the real thing!
One of my favorite ways to capture the delicious, concentrated flavor of late summer that is the tomato is through a quick tomato soup. The fewer ingredients the better with this soup, what I’m really trying to emphasize is the beauty of the tomato (both color and flavor) while complementing it with the bright taste of young leeks. Sometimes I’ll throw a hot pepper into the mix too if I’m feeling feisty, otherwise, just tomatoes, leeks, garlic, a pinch of s&p, a dash of cream and a sprinkle of basil on top is all it takes for a divine main course of tomato-y goodness. Whip up some grilled cheese (I use earth balance butter and follow your heart cheese to make them William-friendly..a.k.a soy and dairy free!) to go along side and you’ll have a kid friendly meal in less than 30 minutes!
- 3 # fresh, ripe tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 leeks
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5-6 leaves basil chiffonade
Bring a pot of water to a boil, making sure there is enough water to just barely cover the tomatoes.
Once it is boiling use a tongs and place one tomato at a time into the water. Leave submerged for 30 seconds or until the skin starts to slough off, and then take the tomato out and place the next one in, keeping the water boiling the whole time. Depending on the size of the tomato you may have to lengthen or shorten the time a bit.
Core and skin all the tomatoes and chop up roughly, set aside.
Thoroughly wash the leeks, slice thin, and throw into a preheated 3 quart saucepan with a dash of olive oil. Cook over high heat until the leeks get some color, and then turn down the heat to medium low. Chop up the garlic cloves and add to the pan (add any other add-ins at this point too). Cook until the leeks are very wilted, and almost starting to break down.
Throw the chopped tomatoes into the pan and stir them up. Using an immersion blender combine everything until desired consistency is reached. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can turn off the heat right before adding the tomatoes, add them, and then pour everything into a blender. Once blended return to pan and return heat to medium low.
Cook until soup is hot but not boiling. Stir in the cream, season to tast with salt and pepper, and serve immediately, topped with a sprinkle of basil.