Looking for ways to use up those sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes falling off the vines? Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup is about the easiest soup I have ever prepared. Amazingly, it has kept its number one slot on our family’s favorite soup list for over 15 years now. Bursting with fresh tomato flavor, prepare several batches this summer to freeze and bring the taste of high summer into your home year-round.
While regular hybrid tomatoes are grown for appearance, heirloom tomatoes are grown for flavor. True, they are a bit disfigured and wonky looking, but what they lack in looks, they make up for in flavor. I actually prefer the appearance of an heirloom. Not only are their colors fantastic, but their shape actually is reminiscent of yesteryear when summer was more about fireflies and swimming holes, front porches and lemonade, and homemade love pouring from a kitchen not enveloped in air conditioning, but rather a box fan positioned in front of the window to bring in the outside breeze. Nowadays, the airconditioning brings neighbors inside. How unfortunate.
What does this have to do with the shape of an heirloom tomato? I don’t know. I just got to thinking about how I prefer things not perfect. Heirlooms aren’t as hardy as their hybrid cousins, and you will pay a pretty penny for them at the farmer’s market or grocery store because they are a bit more fragile, but you won’t be sorry. Their taste is authentically summer and as for their shape, try one and see if you don’t also find yourself dreaming of yesteryear, sweat dripping from your forehead, and the juice of an heirloom dripping down your chin.
Grow Your Own Heirloom Tomatoes
Grow your own heirloom tomatoes and use them all summer long preparing Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup, Summer Panzanella Salad, bruschetta, salsa, sliced on a juicy burger, with fresh mozzarella and basil, or on a simple tomato sandwich. We live off of heirloom tomatoes in the summer months. Our favorite varieties are Green Zebra, Pineapple, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Big Rainbow, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Amish Paste, Boxcar Willie, Black Pear (cherry), and Coyote (cherry). For the past 20 years, I have purchased my heirloom tomato plants at ChilePlants.com.
If You Can’t Grow Them Yourself, Support Your Local Small Farmer
Unfortunately, I have previously shared my gardening woes since moving to Tennesse, so I depend on my local favorite farm up the road to provide us with our juicy tomatoes. I will get this gardeing in the South thing down but until then…There is nothing like connecting to a local farm, speaking with the farmer who grows your food, and seeing first-hand the love that goes into every vegetable. If you are in the Leipers Fork area, check out the Red Thread Farm. Not only does Jeremy grow amazing vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, herbs, and eggs, but he partners with some amazing local artisans to bring in fresh baked sourdough, hummus, beef, cheese, Kombucha, candles, soap, tea, and even healing slaves. The list is growing as he continues to make connections. It’s a one-stop weekly destination I look forward to every week.
Recipe for Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup is so simple I don’t even use a recipe to make it. Literally, I cut the tomatoes in half (slice side up), slice a yellow onion and layer on top, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a preheated 425° oven for about 45 minutes or until onions look caramelized. Add 2-4 cups of prepared chicken broth and blend using a blender or handheld immersion wand. I prefer to see flecks of tomato and onion instead of a puree, so blend to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh basil chiffonade or cilantro.