Late Summer Tomato Bisque With Shaved Fennel Salad
Yield: about 1 1/2 quarts
Sweet tomatoes and caramelized onions are brightened and spiced by basil, and silkened with cream. Put together a blend of heirlooms and local slicing tomatoes for perfect color and flavor.
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes Add to list
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided Add to list
- 1 sweet onion, chopped Add to list
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped, divided Add to list
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth Add to list
- Salt and pepper, to taste Add to list
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, divided Add to list
- 1 cup heavy cream Add to list
- Dash of honey (optional) Add to list
- 2 tablespoons capers Add to list
- 1 small fennel bulb, dark stems and fronds removed (save the fronds for garnish) Add to list
- 4 or 5 radishes, stems trimmed Add to list
- 1/4 cup pitted niçoise or Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped Add to list
- Splash of balsamic vinegar Add to list
To prepare tomatoes, cut the stem out of each with the tip of a knife and then cut tomatoes in half crosswise. Place one half, cut side down, on the outspread fingers of your hand, over a small bowl. Squeeze gently with the other hand until juice and seeds are released into the bowl. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Chop tomato flesh into 3/4-inch pieces.
In a heavy pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat and sauté onions and 3 cloves garlic until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in 1 cup basil. If the tomatoes aren't perfectly sweet, add a touch of honey. Allow the soup to cool slightly.
Purée soup in batches in a blender or food processor, or purée in the pot with a handheld immersion blender. Bring the soup back to a gentle simmer and add cream. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Combine 1/2 cup basil, capers, 2 cloves garlic and 1/2 cup oil in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Thinly slice fennel and radishes. (You may shave these on a mandolin if you are lucky enough to own one.) Toss together with olives, a pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar.
To serve: Ladle soup into soup bowls and swirl with Basil Caper Sauce. Top with Shaved Fennel Salad and fennel fronds.
Recipe by, PCC Chef
Source: Demonstrated on KING 5's "Gardening with Ciscoe" show aired on August 30, 2008