I set out to create a cream of tomato soup, turning to two food52 recipes for inspiration. I wanted to employ Oui, Chef’s technique (from his Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Corn and Cilantro) of roasting the vegetables to create the foundation for a soup. And I was looking to riff on The Weary Epicurean’s Tomato Bisque. In her bisque, The Weary Epicurean has you sear halved tomatoes in a pan before lavishing them with butter and cream.
For my version, I roasted the tomatoes with a few cloves of garlic, then mashed the roasted tomato pulp with cream and cream alone. (Make sure you mash the tomatoes well, so you end up with a fine pulp, not chunks.) And then because I couldn’t stop myself, I made a rosemary-and-thyme oil to sprinkle on top. —Amanda Hesser
8 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, cored and quartered
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more if you like
Sugar, if needed
Coarsely ground black pepper
4 thick slices country bread, toasted and brushed with olive oil, for serving
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line two rimmed baking sheets with foil. Lay the tomatoes cut-side up on the baking sheets. Add the garlic cloves (with skins on). Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Add the ¼ cup olive oil, the rosemary and thyme to a small saucepan and place over low heat. Let warm until you begin smelling the herbs, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Peel the tomatoes and add the pulp and juices to a soup pan. Squeeze the garlic from its skin and add it to the pan. Place the pan over medium heat, and begin mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher until it’s pulpy, but not chunky (if you prefer to use a food processor, go ahead – just make sure you leave it pulpy). When the mixture is hot but not boiling, stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt. Add a pinch of sugar, if needed. Ladle into bowls and season with pepper. Sprinkle a little herb oil on top of the soup. Pass the toasts at the table.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.