Tomato and bread soup

Tomato and bread soup

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

We make this soup in the early autumn when there tends to be a glut of tomatoes in the vegetable garden and we are anxious not to waste any. Inevitably some are in less than perfect condition – softening around the edges perhaps, or with the odd bruise or blemish. These are best showcased in this lovely, nurturing, elegantly flavoured soup. Based on the Tuscan pappa al pomodoro, it is a firm favourite of mine. This one is laced with garlic and sage, with just a hint of chilli, but you could replace the sage with basil for a more traditional flavour if you prefer.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg ripe tomatoes
80ml good-quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced into fine slivers
1 dried red chilli
5 sage sprigs
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 slices day-old, chewy, peasant-style bread
aged balsamic vinegar, to finish (optional)

Method

  1. Chop the tomatoes roughly, but don’t bother to remove the seeds. Place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is warm but not hot, add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, chilli and sage. Season with a good pinch of sea salt and a couple of grindings of black pepper. Turn the heat to really low and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  2. Tear the bread into rough chunks with your fingers and add to the soup. Don’t stir though, just let the bread disintegrate into the soup – it will readily absorb the wonderful, deep, satisfying flavour of the cooked tomatoes.
  3. Ladle into soup plates and drizzle with a little more olive oil and the balsamic vinegar if you wish. This soup is best served warm, rather than hot.
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