Capturing the Tomato Season

The entire month of August did not disappoint and September looks even better.   The tables at the Down to Earth Market Rye Farmers Market are bursting with so many gorgeous things it’s all I can do to hold back and not buy the whole lot.   In particular the last couple of weeks the tomatoes have been just so stellar.  With the ever so slight drop in temperature I have been itching to make tomato soup.  I decided to revisit a version I did a few years ago, flipping the tomato to potato ratio. 

My go-to farm for tomatoes and extra herbs is Newgate Farms in Windsor, CT. 

Amanda hooks me up with her family’s ever so yummy harvest.  I used the large meaty variety for my soup.   The Cleva variety potatoes are from Norwich Meadows Farm in Norwich, NY.  They are my go-to table for carrots, peppers, garlic and potatoes. 

This is one of those recipes you can adjust to your specific desire.  I would encourage you to add the potatoes, as it will help give the soup a little “heft” and balance the acidity of the tomatoes. 

I always start my soup base with a little onion and garlic, sweating a little with avocado oil, salt and pepper. 

Let the tomatoes release their juices before adding the potatoes and a few branches of thyme and a bay leaf.   Depending on the liquid level you can add a bit of water. You just want to make sure your potatoes are submerged.   Let that come to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  You want the potatoes to be pretty soft. 

I think it’s worth noting that I left the skin on the potatoes.  There are a lot of nutrients in the skin that you don’t want to skip!  I leave it on, unless I’m making mashed potatoes, and even then they get cook in their skin before I peel it off. 

Another tip for my soup creations is the addition of Better than Bouillon.  I use this product almost every time I am making soup or sauces.  The paste allows you to have a lot more control over the end product.  All you need is a teaspoon to amp up the flavor scale.  For this go-around I am using the roasted garlic variety.  I always have the vegetable version on hand too. 

The end is pretty simple. After it cools for about 10 minutes remove the thyme and bay leaf and puree with an immersion blender.  For a super smooth soup use a stand blender.  I wanted a little texture so the stick blender did the trick.  Who doesn’t love a one-pot meal? 

Taking it up a notch I decided to make some dipping croutons.  I always grab a bread from the Wave Hill Breads table.  This week I got the sour dough variety.  Super yummy!   Instead of cheddar (you know the whole “grilled cheese, tomato soup” thing) I got really fancy and used a delicious Colby Bassett Stilton from Neal’s Yard Dairy.  The slightly sour, tanginess was a nice juxtaposition for the soup. 

With all the rain we got over the past two weeks the tomatoes will be done in short order.  Now is the time to scoop them up! 

Buon appetito! 

End of Season Tomato Soup
Serves 4 – 6

1 small red onion, about 1 cup diced
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and rough chopped
Avocado oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper, coarse
2½ lbs. large meaty ripe tomatoes
1½ lbs. small white tomatoes, scrubbed
4-6 stems of thyme, plus more for garnish
1 bay leaf
Better than Bouillon Roasted Garlic or Vegetable Base
Arlotta Food Studio Chili-infused olive oil, optional garnish

1. In a medium stock pot, over medium heat, pot drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of oil.  Add the onion and garlic with ½ teaspoon each of kosher salt and coarse grind pepper.  Toss a little with a wooden spoon to coat the onions and let them sweat for about 5 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile core and chop the tomatoes in 2” chunks and add to the softened onion.  Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and mix to combine.  While the tomatoes are releasing their juices dice up the potatoes in small uniform chunks.  Add them to the pot along with the thyme, bay leaf and 1 heaping teaspoon of bouillon.  Push the potatoes under the tomatoes.  Add ½ to 1 cup of water if necessary.  Give it all a good mix and bring the pot to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. 

3. Check the potatoes first to see if they are soft and breaking.  Mix again and taste for seasoning.  Add a tiny bit more of the stock paste, salt and pepper if needed.   Remove from the heat and let the pot cool a bit. 

4. Using an immersion blender puree the soup to your desired consistency.  If you want your soup to be shimmering smooth use a high speed blender. 

5. Serve warm with a drizzle of good oil, fresh thyme and some crunchy croutons of choice!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathleen J McArdle says:

    How much per pound are the tomatoes ? They were $4/# at Greenwich. Going to go to WP on wed to buy more

    Kathleen j McArdle, RDN


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maria Reina says:

      Check Rye tomorrow … but go early, it get busy after 10:00 am.
      Newgate Farm sells 10 lbs. boxes of “seconds” for $10. They have little dings and splits .. not pristine, but perfect for something that is cooked down.

      Liked by 1 person

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