THE BLOG

Roasted Tomato Soup with Olive Croutons

10/10/2014 14:08 BST | Updated 09/12/2014 10:59 GMT

2014-10-06-DSCN9011.JPG

Roasting tomatoes really brings out their flavour and sweetness and although these ingredients came from our Suffolk garden, the soup is packed full of Mediterranean flavours, a last burst of summer.

For the record, I don't like thickening soups with potato unless the spuds are an intrinsic part of the dish as in Vichysoisse, because I think it muddies the taste. I also prefer to leave the tomato skins and seeds in because I think it adds to the flavour, but as ever, the choice is yours.

You can use shop-bought tapenade for the olive croutons but if you'd like to make your own (and it's dead easy), there's a recipe here.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Olive Croutons (serves 2-4)

2014-10-06-DSCN9032.JPG

Ingredients for the soup:

1 kg fresh red tomatoes

4 shallots

2 fat cloves of garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 200ml vegetable stock

10g basil, leaves stripped from stem and chopped

A small splash of balsamic vinegar

For the croutons:

2-3 thick slices of good bread (sourdough is excellent), crusts removed, cubed

1 tbsp tapenade

1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.

Mix together the tapenade and a tablespoon of olive oil and toss the bread cubes in the mixture to coat. Set aside.

Halve the tomatoes and place them cut-side up in a large roasting tin. Peel the shallots and cut or split them into 3-4 cm chunks. Tuck them in around the tomatoes and add the unpeeled garlic cloves.

2014-10-06-DSCN9012.JPG

Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with the olive oil.

Roast for around 35-40 minutes, until the onions are soft and the tomatoes just beginning to char a little at the edges.

Then take out the garlic cloves and squeeze the the soft insides back into the pan, discarding the skins. Pour everything into a liquidiser, including the tomato juices, and blitz until smooth.

Scrape into a saucepan and add vegetable stock to loosen the soup to your desired consistency - I used about 200 ml. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and the chopped basil. Reheat gently and check the seasoning. Keep warm while you cook the croutons.

2014-10-06-DSCN9023.JPG

Put the croutons in a single layer on a small baking sheet and pop in the oven for five minutes. Turn them over and give them another five minutes or until they're golden brown - keep an eye on them, they burn easily.

Pour the soup into bowls and scatter the olive croutons on top. Serve immediately before the croutons go soggy.