Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup with Saffron Basil Cream
I wish I could make a pot of this soup that was big enough to share with literally everyone. I'm honestly amazed at myself with how well it turned out.
Heirloom season is late summer, this is when they are best. They're even better when you can buy them locally! For this soup you'll want to buy tomatoes that are medium firm, not soft but not hard and underripe. I used red heirloom tomatoes, there are so many different varieties and its a whole world of its own so I just try to stick with primarily red ones!
3lbs of Heirloom Tomatoes (about 6 medium sized)
1 red bell pepper
1 medium carrot
1 medium sweet/yellow or Vidalia onion
4-5 cloves garlic
Sea salt, Pepper, Paprika (to taste)
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp butter (optional)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 cup canellini or similar white bean* see note at end
2/3 cup light cream
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon (loosely packed) saffron threads
more fresh basil for serving
red pepper flakes
grilled cheese (I use artisan bread like a french or sourdough loaf and gouda cheese)
Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Wash your veggies, peel the carrot and cut it into 4 pieces. Peel the garlic but leave it whole Cut the tomatoes in half (remove the core), peel and cut the onion into about 8 pieces and cut the bell pepper into 4 pieces (removing the core). Add all of these vegetables onto the pan and drizzle them with avocado or olive oil as well as honey (lightly). Then sprinkle with salt and pepper (to taste) but i like to do so generously and then sprinkle with some paprika. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, flip everything after 20 minutes so both sides are cooked. You can also broil on low for 5 minutes at the end but keep a close eye whenever you are broiling anything.
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of avocado or olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Then add in the remaining veggies as well as all of the juices that cooked out and onto the pan. Stir it all up, add in the beans* and a cup of chicken broth and bring everything to a simmer. At this point you can either use an immersion blender to blend everything in the pot or you can transfer the contents to a blender and do it there then transfer back to the pot. Once everything is blended and back in the pot, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Do a quick taste test and if its too sweet, add a pinch of salt. If it's too acidic, add a drizzle of honey and taste again. This is also a good time to add a small pinch of salt if you feel its needed. Let the soup simmer on low.
In a small sauce pot, add the light cream and bring it to a very low simmer. Add in the basil and saffron, turn the heat to low, stir everything, then cover and let it steep for 5 minutes until it has a light orange hue from the saffron. This will smell amazing. Remove from heat after 5 minutes and keep it covered. This is also a good time to make some fresh grilled cheeses!
Once you're ready to eat, ladle soup into bowls, add a drizzle of the saffron basil cream as well as fresh basil and red pepper flakes if desired. You can also add a drizzle of truffle oil if you have some, this is the perfect dish for it! Serve with grilled cheese and enjoy!
Side note* on beans: this is a good way to add creaminess or smoothness and substance without adding a bunch of cream or cheese. You can replace the beans by adding 1/2 cup of heavy cream or by blending in 1 cup of steamed or mashed cauliflower.
I hope you give this amazing soup a try! It's great for summer even though yes its warm and yes it requires an oven. If you're feeling adventurous, feel free to try roasting the veggies on your grill! I would still use aluminum foil as a base because you'll want to keep all the juices.