Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ode to Humble Tomato Soup

Conspicuous consumption is out, according to the NY Times. Certainly this is not a surprising statement in itself, given the economic malaise and the apparent public disdain for anyone sporting an over-the-top gown at a charity function. And, even though I love to eat and eat well, I believe that we can rejoice in a return to simple foods.

This weekend I made a simple tomato soup with cheese toast and salmon cakes on the side--a homey meal that would not show up on most restaurants with cloth napkins. But, it was good. And frugal. Total cost for a meal for four: $5 (including the canned Trader Joe's salmon).

Tomato soup is deceptive. It can be an elaborate concoction with fresh tomatoes, prepared by poaching, skinning and de-seeding and calling for any number of base herbs, minute quantities of shallots and onions, cream or milk, butter and other rich coatings of the tongue. Yet, I believe these recipes mostly go astray. When tomatoes are in season and fresh, it is hot, not the time to serve a warm soup. Garden-fresh tomatoes are best eaten as they are, sliced with some salt and perhaps a sprinkling of green olive oil or balsamic.

Tomato soup is for cool days when you feel a bit down and need that extra astringent pick-up. Canned tomatoes of good quality work wonderfully well and make for fast preparation. Here is my recipe this weekend. It owes to my mother, who often made a similiar soup with or without noodles. With the younger children, I find my pureed version more accepted.

Humble Tomato Soup
  • Pour 1 28 oz can of good quality diced or whole tomatoes in a 4 quart pot over medium heat.
  • Add in 1 1/2 cups of either rice milk, soy milk or 2%/skim milk. Do not use whole milk or cream--these are wonderful, but not in this soup. You want a light taste. I prefer rice milk as it gives just enough richness with no additional change in flavor to the tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp or more of dill. If you have fresh dill, wonderful. If you don't, good dried dill will do.
  • Heat the soup until just bubbling.
  • With a immersion blender, blend in the pot until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you may process in a blender and then return to the pot.
  • Add in a good seasoning of salt .
  • Taste and serve with broiled cheese toast and salmon cakes or add in some cooked noodles (smaller varieties or ABC-shaped for kids).

1 comment:

Dr. Rick said...

Sounds good and easy on the stomach.