Inspired by the flavors of Provence this rustic tomato soup is packed with some of the season’s best vegetables.
With summer coming to an end and the official start of fall just around the corner, I find myself once again in that limbo period. It’s that predictable time of year when pumpkin and spice starts popping up everywhere while I’m still scrambling to make the best of the last days of summer.
So before we all get buried under the inevitable onslaught of pumpkin everything, and are relegated to cool weather staples like winter squash and root vegetables for a while, let’s take a moment to enjoy those last late summer/early fall vegetables.
The markets are still overflowing with produce and making a Provençal inspired soup is perhaps the easiest and most comforting way to put them to good use. A soup might at first seem like an unusual choice given the lingering heat, but it’s awfully good now that the evenings are getting cooler and it needn’t be served piping hot, and is actually quite good served chilled as well.
The soup itself is inspired by the flavors of Provence; there are tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, fennel and olives all married together with a generous amount of olive oil, garlic and herbs. I just love this flavorful combination of vegetables reminiscent of a ratatouille but in soup form and without all the sautéing that’s usually involved.
The vegetables are tossed together with the olive oil, garlic and herbs, and then first roasted to lock in all the flavors. The benefit of roasting them first are vegetables that are tender and slightly caramelized around the edges and that better maintain their shape, flavor and color in the soup.
Once roasted the vegetables are then briefly simmered together in a fragrant tomato broth, helping to create a deeply flavorful dish that’s chock-full of seasonal vegetables. It’s a rustic sort of soup and like most soups is even tastier the next day, so go ahead and make a big batch for the week.