Saddles, sips and some cranked ladies …
I would call Simon’s Cycles first official Ladies’ Night a spinning success – even if the word ‘panties’ was batted around enough to make Simon, our male hero of the evening, blush and titter a bit (cycling panties …. my mind was blown! Panties – not shorts – with a small chamois. Where have THEY been all my life?!).
This soup is all about the tomatoes – I use Pattison Farm’s ultra sweet orange cherry tomatoes for this. Farmer Gerry Pattison freezes a good deal of his cherry tomatoes in order to prolong that summer flavour throughout these dark days and I am lucky enough to have a whole whack of them in my freezer.
The key to this soup is the long, slow roasting of the tomatoes to coax the natural sugars out and intensify the flavour. Other than some onions and spices, that is all there is to this soup! I don’t even use stock because I think it takes away from the overall flavour, but I do use the liquid that that the tomatoes yield during the roasting process, draining the pan every 15 minutes or so.
If you don’t have access to your own beautiful summer tomatoes, you can use hot house tomatoes, but toss them with brown sugar, olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar and a bit of salt before roasting to add some sweetness to them.
Yield – approximately 4 litres
6 lbs cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil (or more)
4 onions, julienned
toasted and ground caraway
Salt and pepper to taste
Water as needed
Cream to finish – optional
Toss the cherry tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and roast in the oven at low heat (275) for about 8 hours (if you are using tomatoes that are not in season, toss with the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and salt at this point as well). Check the tomatoes every hour and make sure you reserve all the liquid that the tomatoes yield throughout the roasting process. Set aside the tomatoes and liquid when finished.
In a large pot, add the olive oil and onions; cook the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 45 minutes over medium heat (stir occasionally).
Once the onions are caramelized, add the caraway, tomatoes, and reserved roasting juice from the tomatoes and enough water to reach the consistency you desire. Cook for about 15 minutes and then puree. Adjust the seasoning. Add the cream (if using) at this point.
Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches (my favourite is gouda cheese with a bit of caraway to complement the soup).