Some of the best things about summer are stone fruits, melons, and freshly picked tomatoes. I won’t even eat tomatoes in the winter, because they taste like cotton. And that’s if you’re lucky.
My neighbors Kate and Marc have a great organic garden in their back yard, and recently shared a huge bowl of tomatoes with me. Unfortunately this was because they had evacuated for the week because of the horrible Station Fire here in Southern California. My family had also left, but we were back in the house when Marc had to come back for a day. He shared this incredible bounty with us before heading back out of town to be with his family.
Being a food blogger, the first thing I had to do was take a picture. Then being a chef I began to think of what to make with all those tomatoes! Hmmmmm, a lovely and colorful salad? Tomato sauce? Tomato soup? Ah Ha! (cue lightbulb above head) A lovely and colorful tomato soup…no make that bisque! These beauties deserved a little extra, and bisque has that little extra something.
Then the chef took over again, and I decided to expand the flavor profile further by slow roasting the tomatoes with shallots and basil. Once I had that intense flavor base, then I knew I could do these tomatoes justice.
I kept the tomatoes whole, with the exception of the larger roma tomatoes. I sliced and added a very large shallot, sprinkled some dried basil and drizzled some olive oil, and they were ready to go into the oven.
Two hours later, the tomatoes and shallots were soft and fragrant. At this point if you were not interested in making bisque, you can serve these tomatoes over cooked chicken or pork, as a bruscetta topping, or even tossed into pasta or a green salad.
Slow Roasted Organic Tomato Bisque
About 4 cups of organic cherry tomatoes or larger tomatoes halved or quartered
1 large shallot, sliced + 1 TB chopped shallot
1 1/2 tsp dried basil, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup shredded or diced carrots
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
2 cups half & half
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 200 degrees F. On large sheet pan spread tomatoes, sliced shallot, 1 tsp dried basil and olive oil. Roast for about 2 hours, until soft and carmelized.
In a large deep pot over medium heat, add the oil from the roasted tomatoes. Saute the chopped shallots, carrots, remaining 1/2 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp sea salt for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the roasted tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes for flavors to meld.
Add the vegetable stock and water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the vegetables for 30 minutes, until very soft. Carefully transfer the vegetables to a food processor, and puree until very smooth. If needed, do this in smaller batches. Wipe out the pot if there are seeds or skins inside, then return the puree to the pot.
Over low heat, stir in the sherry, half & half, remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper. Simmer (do not let it boil) bisque for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to your taste if needed.
I had a bit of a garnish FAIL, as I forgot to pick some fresh basil while at a friends house for a Labor Day BBQ (lots of wine, hot sun, whatever…) But I did manage to get a dollop of sour cream on top, which I recommend for this savory slow roasted organic tomato bisque.