The air was cool this morning when we made our weekly visit the local farmers' market and my mind wandered to soup. This soup. It seemed a good way to use the brown bag of Heirloom tomatoes that I can never resist, and the lovely little fennel bulbs which were everywhere today. It's not only one of the most unplanned dinners I've ever made; it was absurdly simple (okay, lazy) in terms of preparation; but best of all it was utterly delicious. Roasting the vegetables till they're almost sticky brings out all their flavour and sweetness. There's a little kick from the chilli, the aniseed flavour of the fennel and fennel seeds, and it's finished with the creamy, ever-so-slightly tart yogurt.
I planted our first tomatoes for the season this afternoon, so in a way this soup is also a celebration of that, and of course in anticipation of summer.
Roasted Heirloom Tomato, Fennel & Thyme Soup
7-8 large, ripe Heirloom tomatoes (I used Oxhearts)
4 small fennel bulbs, core and outer layer removed
2-3 garlic cloves, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, picked
1 tsp fennel seeds
250mL chicken or vegetable stock
European-style yogurt (organic/biodynamic if possible)
Preheat oven to 160C. Halve tomatoes and fennel, reserving a few of the feathery fronds (the vegetables should be roughly the same size). Roast with garlic in a large baking tray, drizzled with a few good glugs of extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned generously with sea salt and dried chilli. After about 50 minutes, add thyme and continue to cook until the tomatoes are soft, and the fennel is golden and cooked (about another 20-30 minutes). While the vegetables are cooking, lightly toast the fennel seeds in a small frying pan, and warm stock in a medium saucepan. Blend or process the vegetables with the stock, and season to taste. Return to the saucepan and heat through. Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt, fennel seeds, reserved fronds and a little drizzle of olive oil.
C(h)ook's notes -
- Try replacing the thyme and fennel seeds with cumin seeds