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Author Notes: This is one of my favorite fall to summer transitional foods, for me something I make with the last big batch of local tomatoes I buy each late September. The roasting process, though, means that this will work well with tomatoes of pretty much any quality, ripeness, type and shape. This soup is bright in tomato flavor with simple ingredients, and your oven and blender or food processor do all the work! You *can* coat your baking sheet with olive oil instead of lining it, but I find that the oil doesn't really add a flavor to the soup when used in that stage, and it seemed kind of a waste. For storing and keeping soups longer, I feel that adding the fat in as a garnish if you want like with a drizzle of olive oil or cream to serve is better. It's also good for a mixed crowd of non dairy eaters. The carrot trick is something I learned from Mark Bittman, there's something in the flavor of carrots that makes tomatoes taste more tomato-y. Enjoy! —Lily Applebaum
Serves 6 ish
- 4.5 pounds tomatoes, any variety (but not cherry or grape tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, any variety
- 2 carrots
- 3-6 unpeeled cloves of garlic, depending on how strong a garlic flavor you prefer
- fresh herbs of your choice (optional), thyme, rosemary or basil are delicious
- garnishes (optional) like olive oil, cream, croutons, fresh tomatoes, slow roasted tomatoes, pesto, etc.
- salt, pepper and sugar to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice all of your tomatoes so that they're in 1 inch thick slices -- that might just be slicing them in half, or thirds if you're using large beefsteak tomatoes like I did in the photos for this recipe.
- Line a baking sheet with at least a 1 inch lip or a roasting pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- As you cut tomato slices, lay them onto the pan. You can double stack them, do whatever you can to fit everything on to one sheet which is essential for this recipe.
- Leaving the cherry tomatoes whole, sprinkle them in and around the larger tomatoes on the sheet.
- Wash or peel the carrots and slice roughly into three large pieces each, or more if you have very large carrots. These are just going to give flavor to the soup but won't go in the final mix, unless you don't mind a coarser texture and slightly less tomato flavor.
- Wash the garlic cloves but don't peel them. Place anywhere on the sheet pan.
- Bake until there is a good amount of liquid in the bottom of the sheet pan, the garlic cloves give a lot when you touch them and look browned in some spots, and the tomato skins have completely wrinkled up and are starting to brown or burn. This really depends on what size you cut the tomatoes, for me a good 3 hours. You can definitely rush this step with a higher oven temperature and less baking time, but the flavor might not be as robust.
- Let the whole pan cool until you can handle the tomatoes but they are still hot. The skins should come away very easily, with barely any effort. If they're not, that probably means they need more time in the oven. You don't need to peel off *all* the skins because they add fiber and vitamins to the soup obviously, but the more you do remove the creamier the texture will be.
- Carefully pour the *entire* contents of the sheet pan into a heatproof bowl, including (especially!) the juice at the bottom of the pan.
- Stir once or twice, then fish out the pieces of carrot and the garlic cloves.
- Discard the carrots or keep them to roast further for another dish, unless they're so soft they completely break up to mush if you press on them (in which case, keep them in the bowl). They've already imparted just a little bit of bright flavor that won't be recognizable as carrot in final soup.
- Squeeze the entire contents of the roasted garlic cloves one they're cool enough to handle into the bowl; the cloves should have cooked to a golden brown paste that smells like mellow and sweet garlic.
- Once the entire mixture is cool enough that you can touch the sides of the bowl without hurting your hands, blend in a blender or food processor until you reach your desired soup consistency. You can do this step pretty much right away if you have a stick blender.
- Taste for seasoning; I actually find that just a small pinch of salt is necessary for really ripe tomatoes, but sugar will help lift less ripe ones, or if you're cutting back on salt leave it out entirely and flavor with pepper or herbs instead.
- Serve with any garnishes (alongside a grilled cheese, with a really crisp piece of toast, or olive-oil soaked bread ripped into pieces and stirred in to the soup are my favorites). Because there's no fat in the actual soup, it keeps for a fairly long time in the fridge without getting "scummy" and also freezes beautifully. Enjoy!