By Erin Walgamuth
What to do with the last of our garden tomatoes? Yes, this was my question to the universe as I stood in front of what is left of my vegetable garden this morning. There were only four, beautiful, red, plump, juicy tomatoes left on the vine….boohoo and I wanted to make them count. Well, we all like tomato soup, so it was a no-brainer!
This recipe only made 1 ½ cups of delicious soup, so it will be a starter for tonight’s dinner, but, of course, it is easily doubled or tripled for that matter.
I made the same Basil Cream that I serve with my homemade corn soup and it was a lovely companion to the tomato soup as well.
I highly recommend buying vine ripened tomatoes from the Farmers Market or from Lombardi Ranch, it is soooo worth it!
Prep-time is about 10 minutes
Cook time is about 27 minutes
Makes 1 ½ cups
Serves 2 as a starter
You will need-
11-12” sauté pan with lid
Large fine mesh metal strainer
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons finely minced shallot, about 1 medium-large shallot
4 vine ripened tomatoes, about 1 pound, coarsely chopped
1 cup whole milk
4 pinches of sea salt or to taste
½ teaspoon sugar
Melt butter in the sauté pan on medium heat, add shallots. Stir shallots and butter to combine. Turn heat down to medium-low to low and continue to stir occasionally until the shallots have softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add tomatoes, 2 pinches of salt and the sugar, stir to combine. Cover sauté pan with the lid and let simmer until the tomatoes have released their juices, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
Remove the lid; add 2 more pinches of salt and the milk. Stir to combine and let simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary.
Carefully pour hot tomato mixture into the blender. Blend soup until smooth. Pour hot soup through the strainer and into a wide mouth receptacle such as a small batter bowl with lid. Serve soup immediately, topped with a dollop of Basil Cream or store in the refrigerator.
The recipe below is for 6 servings, as it is difficult, if not impossible, to combine smaller batches in a blender. So hey, use the extra on a baked potato!
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons half and half
15 fresh basil leaves
Combine sour cream and ½ & ½ in a small bowl. Whisk with a fork until blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for one hour. Mixture will thicken as it sits. Put cream blend in a small food processor or blender with the basil leaves and puree until smooth. Return basil cream to the small bowl and press plastic wrap directly on top of cream, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Take basil cream out of the refrigerator about ½ hour before you wish to use it to lose its chill.
Erin Walgamuth  has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe  section.