There are soups which are really appropriate for the summer, but why should seasons obstruct us from having our favourite meal any time of the year? We can easily replace some ingredients and create an ever-green recipe, appropriate for cold or hot days. Let's change the summerish Tomato Soup with canned tomatoes and cook it during the winter. But we won't stop here: I'll introduce you to an interesting way of cooking a soup – oven baking it. This technique has been used by French who also bake their famous onion soup before serving it.
So, this kind of tomato soup is baked with yellow cheese and served with fresh bread, which makes it even tastier and appetising. The interesting thing here is that you serve it not in deep plates, but in small ceramic cups. You can use even the cheaper tomato sort, but I prefer using San Marzano tomatoes. They are considered as the essence of tomato juices, sauces and soups. Cooking is easy - it's all about being able to experiment and trust yourself in the kitchen.
More info on San Marzano's secrets in the last section of the recipe. And here it goes:
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Step 1: Ingredients
1 kg of tomatoes, cut in half or 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, whole;
2 tbsp of live oil;
2 large or 4 small garlic cloves, unpeeled;
1 tsp of finely-diced thyme;
¼ tsp or more red pepper;
Chicken or vegetable broth;
1 tsp of black pepper;
1 large rye or whole-grain bread at your choice, sliced, slightly roasted and buttered on the one side;
1 tbsp of grated raw onion;
1 cup of grated cheddar;
Step 2: Instructions:
Preheat the oven at 180°C. Roll the garlic cloves in aluminium foil. Take out the tomatoes and place them in the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and olive oil. Add the garlic packages, too. Roast until you brown the tomatoes. After that take them out and leave aside to cool.
Unpack the garlic, peel them and mix them with the tomatoes in the kitchen robot. Strain until the whole mixture is homogeneous.
Transfer the tomato mixture in a skillet and add 4 glasses of water, the broth, thyme, red pepper. Boil it, then lower the temperature and leave for 25 minutes at a slow fire. When it's ready, remove it from the cooktop, try it and if it needs salting, by all means, do it.
Preheat the oven again at 180°C. Put the cups with the ready soup in a baking dish and, on top of the warm soup, grate the onion and the cheddar.
Bake the soup for around 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese on the top begins to babble and brown its ends. After you take out the soup, leave it to cool for around 1-2 minutes, after which you serve it straight away.
The increased oven chamber cooking traffic means also increase in the amount of dirt your appliance will generate. It is of high importance to keep a proper level of hygiene in your food preparation area, in order to always receive tasty and healthy results. Clean well the cooker chamber, door, racks and grates one or twice every few months. That advice came to me from top-notch oven cleaning professionals in London – you can maintain your cooking appliance on your own. In case done right, which means, often, you won't need to spend copious amount of your time in scrubbing the burnt-on food deposits left there after every meal.
Step 3: Get to Know the San Marzano Tomatoes
They are considered to be the best sort for cooking tomato juice in the world. The legend says that the King of Peru gave them as a gift to the Kingdom of Naples in the far 1770. The seeds were planted under Vesuvius mountain on the volcanic soil in the area, known today as San Marzano Municipality.
The volcanic soil filter the irrigation waters and contribute to the low acidity and the pleasant taste of San Marzano Tomatoes. Unlike most sorts, they San Marzano are sharper, with more meat and less seeds. Their taste is sweet and slightly acidic. Many people describe them as a combination between sweet and sour, just like the high-quality chocolate.
Because of their unique taste and qualities, the San Marzano tomatoes are considered to be the only sort, which can be used to cook the real pizza Neapolitana. The sauces, cooked with San Marzano tomatoes do not need any additional sugar. The tomato juice has the highest taste qualities. Of course, we shouldn't limit them just to sauces – that's why you can introduce them to soups, risotto, salads and so on.
they are low caloric with high amount of vitamins and minerals. The tomatoes as a whole bring the largest share of vitamin C and A in the human body, with the daily product consumption as a base. The tomatoes do not contain cholesterol or sugar, have low concentration of sodium and a lot of fibres. It's rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, thiamine and pantothenic acid. All that, garnished with amazing taste!
Step 4: Relish
Just enjoy the meal with a nice company and a glass of wine! Cooking the tomato soup this way might take a while, but it's beyond doubt that the end result is totally worth it.