Tip of the Week

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let's make tomato bisque with green tomatoes

Last summer was cooler and I ended up with baskets of green tomatoes.  There was no way I could cook and eat that many fried green tomatoes.  So I went in search of recipes to use green tomatoes and I really did not find many.  There was one by Mario Bartali that made a pesto-sauce for spaghetti with green tomatoes and this was pretty good.  But I still am left with baskets of green tomatoes.

Using two techniques I let my tomatoes ripen naturally.  One technique was putting tomatoes in a paper bag to speed up ripening, which does work.  The second technique was using a produce box (any size) and layering the tomatoes in a single layer.  Again this ripened the tomatoes a little slower than with the paper bag, but ripening them none the less.

Once the majority of my tomatoes ripened I decide it was time to cook them.  And since it is winter and cold, a nice tomato bisque would be perfect.  I did not find any true "tomato bisque" soup recipes so I adapted a basic tomato-basil soup. 

Here goes:

2-3 pounds ripened tomatoes (cleaned)
Spices (any mix, to taste): chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, basil, paprika
Pinch of red pepper flake
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp tomato paste (more if it needs more tomato flavor)
Water (stock, broth or beer) to cover tomatoes
about 1/2 cup cream (or half-and-half)

1. Bring a pot of water to boil and place several tomatoes in the water.  Cook about 2 minutes.  Place immediately in ice water.  When cool enough to handle peel skins off (you can use the skins in other dishes or let your dog eat them).  Repeat until all tomatoes are cooked and peeled.
2.  Place tomatoes in a pot (or Crockpot) and mash by hand to avoid a mess.  (you can use a food processor or blender instead).  Add some water to cover tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer.
3.  Add spices, salt, pepper, red pepper flake and tomato paste.  Stir and let cook.
4.  Once it has cooked and you like the taste, puree with an immersion blender (or place in a blender).  Add cream if using and puree until just mixed.  Serve warm.

This is a very adaptable recipe and I let the soup cook in the Crockpot so I did not have to worry about watching it over a stove.  You can serve with toast, salad, grilled cheese, quesadilla or any other side dish.  The spices add a little heat which works to warm you on a cold night, but it really is to your taste.

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