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Author Notes: For this recipe, I toyed with the idea of adding my favorite "ethnic" flavors: cilantro, fresh ginger, herbs, etc., but as the soup came together, the tomatoes, bay and corn were so full-flavored and farm fresh, they needed no additions. Fresh bay leaves sauteed in olive oil are always a wonderful but under-appreciated addition to foods. They add indescribable fragrance and flavor to many preparations that is not present in their dried counterpart, making the two as different as night and day, —creamtea
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, finely minced
- 1 rib of celery, finely minced
- 1 carrot, finely minced
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 long sweet red pepper, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic, slightly crushed with the flat side of a knife
- 3 fresh bay leaves, twisted back and forth along their central veins in several places to release flavor (but left whole for later removal)
- 1 scant teaspoon whole peppercorns, placed in a teaball
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 3 lb. fresh, full-flavored tomatoes, blanched and peeled if desired, including about 1 lb. plum tomatoes. A flavorful blend of varieties is preferable.
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1-1/2 ears corn, cut from the cob, about 1-1/3 cups
- Goat's milk yogurt as an accompaniment
- 1-2 scallions, minced, including some green, as a garnish
- In a soup kettle, melt butter over medium heat and add olive oil. When fats are hot but not smoking, add onion, celery, carrot, shallot, pepper, garlic, and bay leaves, reduce heat to medium-low, and saute, stirring, until vegetables are tender; if vegetables stick, add additional olive oil.
- While vegetables are cooking, core and halve tomatoes crosswise.
- Squeeze tomato halves gently over a bowl to remove most of seeds. They don't all have to be removed. Discard seeds.
- Chop tomatoes roughly, then add to vegetables in kettle. Cook down slightly until tomatoes begin to release their juices, then add filtered water, peppercorns in teaball, and salt.
- Adjust flame to medium, bring just to a boil, reduce flame again and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 45 - 50 minutes until tomatoes have broken down and vegetables are soupy. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or water as necessary. Remove teaball, garlic clove, and bay leaves. Soup can be prepared up to this point in advance, then reheated. You may puree it at this point if desired, though I prefer it chunky.
- Just before serving, reheat soup, add corn kernels, cover for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through and still sweet, then serve in individual bowls. Garnish each serving with a teaspoon or two or goat's milk yogurt and minced scallion or chive, and serve immediately.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Warm Weather Soup
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fresh Herbs
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Corn off the Cob