Last December, when I was in Amsterdam (in fact, when I was stuck in Amsterdam because of snow – that is the last time I try flying through Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Budapest three days before Christmas) I had the most amazing tomato soup at a small American-run restaurant near Leidseplein. It was thick and dark, nearly chunky as if a fresh salsa had been heated and scooped in – and it was comforting and tasted heavenly. I've been meaning to try re-creating it ever since, but only just got around to it.
The basic ingredients are three: tomatoes, onions and garlic. The key is to roast them at a high temperature for a fairly long time, to bring out the flavors and just begin caramelization. And then – homemade vegetable stock, some croutons, and voilà: a thick, flavorful and hearty tomato soup. It's not quite as good as the one in Amsterdam, but I'll work on it.
What you need:
- homemade vegetable stock (3-4 cups, depending on how thick you want your soup)
- a whole bunch of ripe tomatoes… about 3 pounds
- 2-3 large onions
- 4-6 large garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- olive oil
What you do:
- Begin by quartering the tomatoes, peeling and quartering the onions, and peeling garlic cloves. While you're at it, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- On a large cookie sheet, gently toss the tomatoes, onions and garlic in olive oil. Roast in the oven for 30-45 min., until they are just starting to caramelize. Stir every once in a while to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the cookie sheet; an initial liberal application of olive oil will also work.
- Whilst the vegetables are roasting, bring your stock to a near boil.
- Combine the roasted vegetables and stock in a large pot and slowly bring to the boil. Set to a simmer, stir in the Parmesan cheese, and let simmer for 20 min. to build the flavors.
- Blend the soup until largely smooth.
- Serve with olive oil croutons: simply cube and old baguette (I used whole wheat), toss with olive oil, and pop in a 120°C oven for about 15 min.