Roasted Tomato Bisque

It's winter, and I want tomatoes. This always happens.

So what's a tomato-fiend to do? 

Coax the flavor out of winter tomatoes, that's what.

In Sarah Copeland's Feast, she presents a lovely mid-winter tomato soup (that, yes, would probably be even better if it were a late-summer soup) that guarantees satisfaction of any tomato craving. 

Roasting tomatoes puts your taste buds on full blast: think intense, sweet, and smoky. Think perfect for pairing with rosemary or paprika or thyme. Think the perfect tomato on steroids. 

Yes, yes, I hear you that one should roast tomatoes in the summer when they're at their peak. And I agree with you. But, even in the winter with mealy Romas or hefty greenhouse tomatoes, you're going to get good results. Now imagine roasting tomatoes alongside some sweet red bell peppers, hearty onions, and pungent garlic? 

People, we're talking full-on, umami heaven.

How about some tomato roasting tips?

  • Roast flesh-side down. This helps trap the pulp and seeds and makes for easy skin removal. Plus it lends a nice char to the skin.
  • You can choose to remove the pulp and seeds, but your roasted tomatoes will be drier and, perhaps, a little less intense. For this soup, you don't need drier tomatoes, but you might have other needs on other days.
  • You can also remove the skins at the end of the roasting. I didn't for this soup because I wanted a little more texture in the soup. But most times, you're going to want to peel the skin off of the tomato at the end. 
  • Don't be afraid to roast more tomatoes than are called for here. Just put the leftover roasted tomatoes in the fridge. They won't last very long anyway. Because you're going to eat them as midnight snacks.

After a quick purée and a splash of dairy, you've got yourself a tomato bisque. Top this soup off with some fat--really green olive oil and a shaving of Parmesan cheese--and we're all set no matter the season.

What more do you need? I think just a hunk of bread on the side. Maybe even rub a garlic clove all over the bread. Maybe slather some butter on that bread. Maybe not.

People, we're having tomatoes in January. 


Roasted Tomato Bisque

Adapted from Sarah Copeland's Feast

4 Servings

Olive oil, for the baking sheets and veggies
5 large tomatoes, quartered
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika, plus more for seasoning
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
2 large yellow onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2½ cups veggie or chicken broth
½-1 cup milk (or cream or ½ and ½)
Olive oil and Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush two rimmed baking sheets with olive oil. Spread the tomatoes out on one of the baking sheets, season with salt, black pepper, and ½ tsp of paprika. Add 2 garlic cloves to the baking sheet. Toss the bell pepper, onions, and remaining 2 cloves of garlic with olive oil in a large bowl, season with salt and black pepper, and spread out on a second baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes and veggies for about 30-40 minutes, stirring the veggies about halfway through.

2.  Transfer the tomatoes and vegetables to a blender or food processor and add the stock. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. (If you have an immersion blender, by all means, go to it in a large stock pot.) Transfer the blended veggies to a large stock pot. 

3.  Add ½ cup milk and stir to combine. (Or you can use cream or half and half. You choose how thick you want your soup. Or maybe you want almond milk instead to keep this vegan.) Taste and add up to ½ cup more milk, and season with salt and more paprika, if needed. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

4.  Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Shave some Parmesan over the top.


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