As our sunny, bright July becomes August, our shadows are lengthening and deciduous trees are beginning to show the first blushes of autumn color. In honor of late summer tomato season, I give you a recipe that will make full use of the tomatoes hanging heavy in your garden. This Tuscan soup (Jamie Oliver's recipe) can be either a light appetizer for your next dinner party or beautifully filling entrée for a summer night. The best part about this soup? It doesn’t need to simmer for hours – in fact, you can throw it together in around thirty minutes.
Click through for the detailed recipe and list of ingredients:
Gather your ingredients: basil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, canned plum tomatoes, stale crusty bread. If your house is like mine, a good-quality French or sourdough loaf is devoured fresh--stale artisan bread does not exist in my life. However, it was a problem easily fixed: I bought a loaf of fresh crusty bread, sliced it in half horizontally, and stuck it in the oven for about fifteen minutes on a low heat. Ta-da! Stale bread.
Prick your cherry tomatoes, and toss them with olive oil, one sliced clove of garlic, and some basil leaves. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Mmmm.
To prep your soup pot, pour in a good glug of olive oil with the remaining sliced garlic and basil leaves and let sizzle for a minute. Try not to salivate. Add your canned plum tomatoes and around a cup and a half of water.
Just a note – I had an extraordinarily difficult time finding canned plum tomatoes. In a pinch, canned whole peeled tomatoes work as a substitute. Do not use diced!
Push the canned tomatoes apart with your spoon, allowing them to break apart and release their flavors into the broth. Bring the soup to a boil and let simmer for fifteen.
Season like mad – I ground up fresh sea salt and pepper into the mix. Tear up your stale bread into small (Jamie Oliver instructs, “thumb-sized”) pieces and add to the soup. Watch in awe as the stale bits become thoroughly soaked in bright red tomato juice. Let the soup sit on low heat for about ten minutes.
Your cherry tomatoes should come out of the oven ready to burst, with cracks in their skins. Add the whole shebang to the soup, including the garlic and basil from the bottom of the pan.
Stir gently, and if the soup is too thick (mine wasn’t), add a little water. Add a generous amount of olive oil (Jamie says six to seven tablespoons), and serve. If you’re like me, you’ll be utterly amazed by the sweet, intense tomato flavor. Delicious.
Do you have a favorite way to use late-summer tomatoes? Made tomato bread soup before? Let us know in the comments!
--Anneka Gerhardt, Foodista staffer.