Last fall Erin and I spent a few days in San Francisco – had an awesome time. We visited friends who live in the area, watched our Colorado Buffaloes’ football team get steamrolled at Stanford, walked the city’s endless hills, and got seriously food-wasted multiple times.
The last night of our trip was one of the best evenings I’d had in a long time. We ate dinner at a great spot recommended by a lifelong friend. I’ve never been so impressed by a restaurant – the food was serious, but the atmosphere was completely relaxed. The perfect date night.
Anyway, when we returned home the next afternoon all we could think about was the heirloom tomato soup Erin had started with the night before. It was legit – so much more than a typical tomato soup. The heirlooms gave it a bright, orange color and instead of being cream based it was topped with a spoonful of crème fraiche and drizzle of basil oil. Yah, it was soup – but it was damn good soup.
Here is my version. Not quite the same, but always good enough to get us thinking about our next long-weekend getaway.
Heirloom Tomato Soup
Makes a medium-sized pot full.
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, rough chopped
- 2-3 celery stalks, rough chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1.5 pounds fresh heirloom tomatoes, rough chopped
- 1 quart good vegetable stock
- A few grates of nutmeg
- 3-4 basil leaves, chopped – plus extra for the basil oil
- 1 bay leaf
- Crème fraiche (or sour cream)
- Small pat of unsalted butter
- Small splash of apple cider vinger
- Olive oil, salt & pepper
- Add the small pat of butter along with a couple of glugs of olive oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent, ~5-6 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper once again and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, ~5-6 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and cook uncovered over medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for another 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf, add the chopped basil, and buzz the soup down to a smooth but still textured consistency. (Immersion blenders are sweet, but a regular blender works great too. Just work in small batches, transferring the buzzed soup to a large bowl.) Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- For the basil oil, process or blend a few glugs of olive oil, small splash of apple cider vinegar, and a handful of basil leaves until smooth.
- Serve the soup with a spoonful of creme fraiche and a drizzle of basil oil.