Chilled Cream of Fire-Charred Tomato Soup with Basil Coulis

Cream of tomato soup is probably my favorite soup. I usually don’t make it much in the summer, which is a shame, because it is extra good with fresh home-grown tomatoes. I decided to see if I could turn a winter staple into a summer favorite.

Ingredients
7 to 8 large farm-fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup onions, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar
6 ounces plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Method

* Heat a grill (gas or charcoal) to high. Using tongs and a paper towel dipped in cooking oil, grease the grates.
* Place the whole tomatoes directly on the grill. Rotate as the skin is charred. Once the skin starts to slip off, place in a bowl to cool. Note: This can be done a day in advance.
* After tomatoes have cooled, peel and core them. Be sure to catch and save any tomato juice.
* Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
* Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
* Garnish with a hefty swirl of basil coulis.
Serves four.

Non-grill variation:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make an X with a knife on the bottom of each tomato and place in the boiling water for a few minutes. Remove and cool in iced water. The peels should easily slip off. Return to main recipe.

Basil Coulis

This delicious basil oil is something I plan to keep on hand all summer. It adds a nice splash of color and intense basil taste to any dish. Try it in soups, pasta, crostini, grilled chicken, grilled cheese — the sky’s the limit.

Ingredients
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Wash and dry the basil.
  • Place basil and oil in a blender and process until smooth. I use an immersion blender, but a regular one will do just fine.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour into a squeeze bottle, if you want to make fancy swirls. Store in the fridge; bring to room temperature before using. Keeps for a week.