I know, I know – we’re having a genuine heat wave in SoCal, so bookmark this for after the October Santa Ana’s my friends Meanwhile, fall is in the air in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere and this rustic, comfort food favorite is beckoning you to the table.
Roasting the tomatoes to concentrate their essence is what sets this tomato soup apart. Not to mention the silkiness from a touch of cream, sweetness of roasted garlic, and salty goodness of the lacy wafer as it softens and mingles within.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Manchego Wafers
(Adapted* from Gourmet Today, edited by Ruth Reichl)
4 pounds tomatoes, halved lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ medium onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups organic vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream
Garnish: fresh oregano sprigs
Shown served with Crispy Manchego Wafers (recipe follows)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange tomatoes, cut side up in one layer on a large baking sheet. Scatter garlic around tomatoes. Drizzle tomatoes with oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Roast until tomatoes are browned around the edges but still juicy, about 1 hour. Allow to cool, then peel garlic. Leave the oven on and bake the Crispy Manchego Wafers, recipe below.
Melt butter in a heavy 6-8 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, oregano, and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, and stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer, covered for 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Return to low heat, stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 2 minutes. Divide among bowls and serve immediately.
*I substituted vegetable broth for chicken for a vegetarian soup, also used fresh red and yellow tomatoes from the garden and cut the amount of onion, sugar and butter in half. Yellow tomatoes tend to be sweeter and less acidic, so the combination gave the soup more of an orange color and rich, mellow flavor.
For the Crispy Manchego Wafers I used 1 ½ cups of grated manchego and asiago cheese with chopped hazelnuts left over from the Cabernet-crusted Chile Rellenos mixed with 1 tablespoon organic all-purpose flour. The recipe in Gourmet called for grated parmesan cheese. These delicate savory crisps are a perfect embellishment to the soup, but also make a wonderful snack or appetizer on their own.
Heated oven to 350 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner such as parchment paper.
Stir together the cheese and flour in a bowl. Make 5 mounds of cheese mixture (about 2 tablespoons each) about 4 inches apart and spread each mound into a 3-4 minch round.
Bake until melted and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully remove each wafer from the baking sheet and float on top of the soup.
Cook’s Notes: The soup can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, uncovered, then refrigerate, covered. The wafers can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container.