Often it seems like tomato soups don’t taste anything like an actual tomato—the tomatoes are roasted or stewed into a soup that is so far from the starting main ingredient. I like using Early Girl tomatoes for this recipe because they cook really quickly and have a fresh, bright flavor, but you can use any mix or assortment of tomatoes you have on hand. This soup has a great creamy texture without adding any cream. —eat-drink-garden
Put butter and olive oil in a heavy bottom 4-6 quart pot over medium heat until the butter bubbles.
Add in onion, celery, garlic and the bay leaf. Sauté on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.
Add 4 1/2 cups chopped Early Girl tomatoes, the teaspoon of salt and the pinch of red pepper flakes. Mix until the tomatoes soften and release juices, about 10 minutes, cover and cook another 10 minutes.
At this point, the soup will look more like a sauce. Find your bay leaf and remove it.
Puree with a hand or regular blender. Then add a little water, 1/2-1 cup depending on the consistency you prefer.
Finish with a splash of white balsamic vinegar and the ½ teaspoon of salt. You shouldn’t really taste the vinegar, but it brightens up the soup and compliments the tomatoes.
Bring back to simmer and then serve. Pour into bowls and garnish with basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
I produce the Santa Barbara based blog Eat Drink Garden. The inspiration for every meal, for every cocktail, and for every blog entry is from my garden. I learned a few years ago that if you choose seasonal fruits and vegetables, you don't need to do too much to them in order to make them beautiful and delicious every time.