Too Much of a Good Thing?

September 26, 2012

There is no such thing as too much as a good thing.  Would you agree?  Disagree?  In general, I would disagree except when it comes to food that is perishable.  Then it is possible to have too much of a good, even wonderful, thing.  Like roasted tomatoes.

I made this dish, one of my favorites of last year, and decided that this time, unlike last time, that I would slow roast enough tomatoes to have plenty left over for other things.  So I cored a little over six pounds of tomatoes, I put them in the oven for close to four hours, turned them periodically, burned my fingers while pinching off their skin – you know.  All worth it.  At the end of it, we enjoyed our chickpeas (the tomatoes really do make the dish), I carefully scooped the remaining tomatoes into a container and covered it with olive oil.  I put the garlic cloves in a separate container and was proud of myself for having two such delicious things in my refrigerator just waiting for inspiration.

Except.  Six pounds makes a lot of leftover tomatoes.  And of our family of four, only two of us, the grown people, will eat tomatoes.  So a couple of days after feeling proud, I started to feel a little silly.  Then I started to feel wasteful.  I can’t have spent all that time on these things only to have them get grody in my refrigerator.  So I made soup.

We’ve all had tomato soup, right?  It is one of cooking’s greatest triumphs.  If you have made this one, you know that Cambell’s is not your best choice.  I love that Tomato Leek Soup dearly (with grilled cheese made on homemade challah, it’s Randy’s favorite meal), but it is just a touch acidic for me.  I envision something rounder, mellower, softer when I think of tomato soup.  A bit more like, um, Campbell’s.  Except 100 million times better.  Slow roasting tomatoes makes them very sweet and mellow and the garlic is super mellow too, which is why you will see so  many cloves in the recipe.  I only added a bit of body to it with onion and celery, a bit of tomato paste and a touch of cream to round it out further.  I was thinking of adding basil but found I didn’t have any and truthfully, it doesn’t need it.  What it does need is homemade croutons.  Just take any crusty bread, cut it into cubes, drizzle them with olive oil, a pinch of good salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  Bake them in the oven at 350ºF for about ten minutes until they are lightly browned.

One Year Ago:  Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches, Corn with Tons of Herbs, Heirloom Tomato Tart, Maple Soy Snack Mix
Two Years Ago:  Tomato, Semolina, and Cilantro Soup, Double Chocolate Layer Cake, Moo Shu Tempeh
Three Years Ago:  Corn and Zucchini Timbale, Nutella Pound Cake, Holly B’s Almond Butterhorns
Four Years Ago:  Pissaladière

Roasted Tomato and Roasted Garlic Soup
Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

If you don’t feel like taking four hours (give or take) to slow roast tomatoes, you can get good results in two hours.  They won’t be as dry and they won’t be as sweet, but they will still be good.  Either way, once the tomatoes are done and cool, I transfer them to a container, where I lay down a layer, cover in olive oil, lay down another layer, etc.  Covered they will last about a week.  The oil will solidify so take them out a good half an hour before you want to use them in this soup or otherwise.  I allowed mine a brief rest on paper towels to soak up excess oil.  I store the garlic, still in its papery wrapper, separately from the tomatoes and I do not cover them in oil.

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Kosher or sea salt
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
About 2 cups roasted tomatoes (you can use this recipe)
8 roasted garlic cloves (ditto)
½ dry white wine
4 cups water
¼ cup heavy cream
Croutons (for serving)

Place a soup pot over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the onion and the celery along with a large pinch of salt.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and starting to color, about 10 minutes.  Add the thyme leaves and stir for another minute.  Add the canned tomatoes and the tomato paste and give the mixture a good stir.

Add the roasted tomatoes and garlic and allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then pour in the wine, followed by the water.  Add another pinch of salt.  Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.  If it is looking too thick, stir in a bit more water.

Using a handheld blender, blend the soup.  You want it fairly smooth but texture is important here.  If you do not have a handheld blender (also called an immersion blender) you can very carefully (HOT!) blend it in either a food processor or blender.  Remember to not make it too smooth.  With the heat on low, pour in the cream.  Give it a good stir and allow to cook on low for another five minutes.  Taste for salt.  Add more cream if you want it mellower.  Serve with croutons.


  1. Yahoo! So glad to see you back in action. I agree: slow-roasted tomatoes are the way. to. go. There must be something in the air lately: I had tomato soup from Whole Foods yesterday for lunch and have my eyes set on The Wednesday Chef’s Tomato Bread Soup (have you checked her book out yet?). This looks so wonderful, too! Luckily we still have tomatoes — and I know you do for sure. xx, my friend!

    Comment by Megan Gordon — September 26, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  2. Slow roasted tomatoes freeze really well! I just put them into freezer bags once they cool and you can use them just as you would before freezing them so you can eat roasted tomato soup long after tomato season has passed.

    Comment by Anna — September 26, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

  3. I don’t know if I like tomato soup, but this post is a good reminder to try your chickpea recipe that I had bookmarked ages ago. I have a bunch of tiny sungolds and roasting them would be a good way to use ’em up. Hope you’re enjoying your home!

    Comment by kickpleat — September 28, 2012 @ 2:25 am

  4. I’m so glad I checked your site today. I have been on the hunt for the best tomato soup and am excited to try yours today! Do the tomatoes need to be really ripe?

    Comment by Kate — September 29, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  5. They don’t need to be really ripe because they get nice and soft in the oven.

    Comment by dana — September 30, 2012 @ 12:17 am

  6. This is what I want my lunch to be today! Last year, I cooked and peeled ten pounds of tomatoes and ended up storing them in the freezer–and never came up with an amazing use for them. I’m not good at using stored food I guess. I should have slow roasted them and made soup!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — October 1, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  7. This sounds so good to me right now, along with a grilled cheese!

    Comment by melinda ke — October 1, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  8. Tomato soup is my favorite treat and garlic is what I put in everything.

    Thanks for sharing this as I will be making it soon.

    Erin –

    Comment by Erin — October 2, 2012 @ 5:36 am

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