If grilled cheese and tomato soup are your go-to comfort foods, it’s time to up your game. Canned soup is OK when you’re in a pinch, but as you’ll see from this recipe from Japanese chef Yoshihiro Imai, homemade soup is the real deal. This recipe comes from Chef Imai’s new book, monk: Light and Shadow on the Philosopher’s Path, out April 28 from Phaidon Press.
Grilling fully ripe summer tomatoes slowly in the wood-fired oven caramelizes the skin, while the wonderful smokiness intensifies the pure flavor of the tomato. Simply adding salt and blending results in a strikingly delicious soup. I serve this chilled, then garnish with charred tomato skin for added fragrance.
1.5 kg tomatoes
2 g salt
Reserved tomato skins, crisped
Roast the Tomatoes
- Preheat the wood-fired oven to medium heat (430 °F /220 ° C).
- Spread the tomatoes out evenly in a cast-iron skillet (frying pan) and place in the oven. Slowly roast the tomatoes until they are soft and browned on the surface, about 40 minutes, occasionally repositioning the skillet to make sure all surfaces are equally cooked. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let cool.
Make the Soup
- Carefully peel the browned skin. Save the tomato skins and any juices.
- Place the peeled tomatoes and juices in a blender and combine on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the salt and test the flavor to balance out the acidity and saltiness. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill.
- Place the reserved tomato skins in front of the wood-fired oven to dry for one hour.
- Take the soup out of the refrigerator and use a hand blender to blend for 10 seconds to aerate just before serving.
- Plate the soup in bowls and garnish with the dried tomato skin.
Reprinted from monk: Light and Shadow on the Philosopher’s Path by Yoshihiro Imai. © 2021 Phaidon Press