August 7, 2008

Tomatoes and Basil - The Classic Summer Duo

Thank god/budda/zeus/shiva/(insert name of favorite deity here) for recipes like this!

Our kitchen gets pretty darn hot in the summer. These beautiful, thick stone walls seem like they would stay cool but definitely start to warm up when the sun beats down on them day after day. And turning on the oven to do any baking or roasting certainly doesn't help matters! If I do need the oven I try to use it only in the morning. We usually eat cold food and salads in the summer anyway.

This Tomato Soup with Basil recipe is one of my new favorite's. It's fresh, simple and ultra flavorful. You can enjoy it warm, at room temperature or cold.
And in the height of summer, when tomatoes are ripening on the vine and basil is in abundance, there's nothing better!

Tomato Soup With Basil
from Patricia Wells At Home in Provence
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) firm, ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 plump. fresh garlic cloves. peeled and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (50cl) water
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 4 tablespoons basil leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into julienne strips
  • Several tablespoons cream, of a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)
Press a clove into each half of the onion and place in a stockpot. Add the tomatoes to the stockpot along with the garlic, salt, celery, oil, water, thyme and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Remove the onions, thyme and bay leaves, and discard.
Pass the soup through the coarse blade of a food mill into a bowl.
Taste for seasoning.
The soup can be served either hot or cold, sprinkled with fresh basil.
For a richer soup, swirl in cream, or olive oil, if desired. Pin It
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