This soup is extra-delicious when made during July to September, when our sweet, deep red tomatoes are abundant. Confronted with such a taste sensation, no one can fail to appreciate that the virtues of eating locally and seasonally go far beyond the realm of economics–and enter a domain where ecology and gastronomy coincide.
The addition of sun-ripened tomatoes adds a hint of Mediterranean sunshine, and is especially important when you are resorting to using tomatoes of the more jet-lagged variety. We often serve up this soup with tomato focaccia or olive bread and brie.
To serve 6-8
2-3 onions chopped
1 medium carrot, rough chopped
1 smallish potato, rough chopped
1 1/2 lb. tomatoes, quartered
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes
2 sticks celery, chopped
1-2 tsp. vegetable stock powder
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tbs. freshly chopped basil or 1-2 tsp. dried basil
10 oz. milk (optional) and/or 4-5 oz. cream
1. Saute onion, garlic, carrot and celery in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes until it gets soft. If using dried basil, add it now. Then add potato and saute a little more. As soon as the potatoes begin to stick it is time to add the tomatoes, bay leaves an sun-dried tomatoes. Also add enough water/stock to just cover tomatoes. Simmer for half an hour, or until all vegetables are tender.
2. Fish out the bay leaves. Blend. Add more water and enough cream or milk to give desired consistency. Season to taste. Do not boil once cream is added. (This soup is also very good without milk or cream–just add more water/stock.)
3. If fresh basil is available, roughly chop. Stir some into the soup and use the rest as a garnish.