Maybe I get just a wee bit excited when the weather cools enough to throw on a sweater and make a pot of soup. Gah, I can’t believe I just said that…because I really do treasure summer.
But it’s true. I love the comforting ease of a bowl of soup with some good bread. And this soup is truly all about ease. Minimal chopping. Minimal ingredients. The roasting takes care of most of the cooking so you can do other things while you make dinner. It’s also ridiculously flavourful (because roasted onions have got to be one of the most underrated ingredients in existence!) and your kitchen will smell like heaven as you make this.
Once you put this one in your weekly recipe rotation, you’ll never look back. Right now, it’s extra delicious with all of the late season tomatoes…but as roasting enhances flavours, it’s one you’ll want to make late into the fall. Perhaps add a tiny pinch of sugar to the mix as tomatoes become less flavourful.
This soup is topped with a sunflower seed and fennel gremolata. Gremolata is a classic Italian condiment made of herbs and lemon. It’s the final flourish that adds another layer of flavour and texture to the soup; it takes just a couple of minutes to prepare and makes this soup a wonderful first course for a special dinner.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Sunflower Fennel Gremolata
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes left whole
- 1 medium yellow onion (or a ½ large), peeled and cut into large chunks
- 5 cloves garlic unpeeled
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups creamy white beans such as cannelini or navy
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fennel fronds minced
- 1/3 cup lightly packed curly parsley minced
- 1/3 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1/2 clove garlic crushed or finely grated
- Extra virgin olive oil, salt and chile flakes
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Place tomatoes and onion on a rimmed baking sheet and nestle in the garlic cloves.
- Drizzle vegetables generously with oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
- Roast for 30 -35 minutes until tops of tomatoes start to develop a char and onion starts to turn golden. Remove from heat.
- In a large pot, squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out of the peel and discard peels.
- Then, add the rest of the tomato onion mixture, being sure to scrape all of the delicious juices from the baking sheet.
- To the vegetables, add the broth, beans, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer for ten minutes
- Meanwhile, make the gremolata: in a small bowl, stir the fennel, parsley, sunflower seeds, lemon zest and garlic.
- Add a pinch of salt, a dash of chile flakes and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil. Mix, taste and adjust with more salt, chile flakes, lemon juice or olive oil as desired.
- To finish the soup, remove from heat and using a handheld immersion blender, blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt, and if you wish, thin with a little extra broth.
- Ladle into bowls and top with gremolata. If not using gremolata, give the soup a little squeeze of lemon juice for acidity.