Tomato soup is the ultimate stand-by meal. Ready in minutes, it goes down a treat at any time of the day and any time of the year. As always, quality ingredients are the key: good tomatoes make good soup. You need nice ripe, plump red ones with plenty of flavour. Salad tomatoes are not meant for cooking, for this dish look for Roma, Costoluto Genovese, ripe plum or even vine cherry tomatoes – all are excellent in both flavour and texture. Tomato and basil is a well-known combination that always works well, but for me, thyme is the perfect complementary flavour to a good ripe tomato.
- Method :
- For a quick soup, simply remove the stalks of the tomatoes and roughly chop them. But for a more refined finish dish, remove the tomato skins first - to do this, score a shallow ‘x’ into the base of each tomato and plunge into boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove, refresh in cold water, and peel away the skins.
- Heat the olive oil in a deep pan to a moderate temperature and add the onions and celery. Sweat, without colouring, for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add the thyme, stir in well, and then add the tomatoes. Place a lid on the pan, reduce to a low heat, and leave to cook down for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a blender and pulse down to a smooth consistency. If you find that your mixture is a little thick, add a splash of water or vegetable stock. For a very smooth soup you can then pass the mixture through a fine sieve, but this is optional.
- Return to the pan and season well. Make sure that it is piping hot, and serve