Tomato soup with feta

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Soup season isn’t over yet. As the weather warms up, tomatoes are coming in are tastier and juicier than ever. Tomatoes are a natural source of Lycopene which benefits from being cooked, unlike other foods which may lose some of their nutrients during cooking. So think simple soups, all-in-one stews and fresh pasta sauces for this nightshade fruit.

For me tomato soup is a summer dish, mainly because a few years ago I made the transition from using canned tomatoes to mostly fresh ripe tomatoes. The tastiest tomatoes are always found in the warmer months so it makes sense to make the best out of the season’s produce. In the past we were always told to add a little sugar to tomato soups and sauces because they tasted a bit acidic. I find that using fresh, very ripe organic tomatoes less acidic and makes all the difference in flavour. I also use organic tomato pulp or whole tomatoes in glass jars which I find at my local supermarket. These are also less acidic than the canned varieties. Try it for yourself, if you can find it. I usually keep tomato pulp, whole peel tomatoes and tomato paste (all in glass jars) in my pantry.

TOMATO SOUP WITH FETA

Serves 4

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 medium red or brown onion, peeled and chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

small piece ginger (about 2 cm), peeled and chopped

1kg ripe tomatoes

400-500gr jar tomato pulp or whole peeled tomatoes

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

handful of fresh basil leaves

Topping: 180g Greek feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil and a few basil leaves

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and add the garlic, onion, carot, celery, ginger and bay leaf. Season lightly and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.

  2. Cut a cross at the bottom of each tomato and put into a large, deep bowl. Cover with boiling water. After a few minutes, the peel should pull back a little. Drain and skin all the tomatoes. Discard the skin and chop the tomatoes.

  3. Add the fresh and jarred tomatoes to the pot. Simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes until the tomatoes have almost melted. Check seasoning and add in basil leaves. Use a stick blender to puree and adjust the consistency to your liking with water.

  4. To serve top each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, crumbled feta, and chopped basil.

Note: Toddlers and younger children may prefer a thicker soup for dipping strips of bread into.