Recipe: Roasted heirloom tomato soup

Did you know that tomatoes are considered a fruit as a way to avoid paying taxes on vegetables?  The Supreme Court classified them a fruit as part of the Tariff Act of 1883, which required a tax to be paid on imported vegetables, but not fruit.

Heirloom tomatoes, also called heritage tomatoes in the United Kingdom, are an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) cultivar of tomato.  Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular and more readily available in recent years.

Heirloom tomatoes can be classified into four categories: family heirlooms, commercial heirlooms, mystery heirlooms, and created heirlooms. They are grown for a variety of reasons, such as historical interest, access to wider varieties, and by people who wish to save seeds from year to year, as well as for their taste, which is widely perceived to be better than modern tomatoes.

They usually have a shorter shelf life, but are generally more disease resistant than most commercial tomatoes.  Many heirloom tomatoes lack a genetic mutation that gives tomatoes an appealing uniform red color while sacrificing the fruit's sweet taste. Varieties bearing this mutation, which have been favored by industry since the 1940s, feature fruits with lower levels of organic pigments (carotenoids) and a decreased ability to make sugar within the fruit.

Solar Flair Tomato - This beefsteak variety is red with gold stripes and has a meaty flesh.

White Tomesol Tomato - The cream-colored fruit is both sweet and rich

Harless Creek Gold - Heavy yielding, golden fruits that are sweet and fruity.

Blue Beauty Tomato - A modest beefsteak variety is great for slicing and is high in anti-oxidants

Indigo Apple - Large cherry-type tomato, that is high in anti-oxidants.  Lasts long into fall.

Blue Gold Berries - Bright yellow fruits with indigo shoulders.  These are also high in anti-oxidants.  Fruits hold well onto the vine.

You can find a large variety of heirloom tomatoes here

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup
You will find this soup to be milder and sweeter in flavor than tomato soups you are used to

5 lbs. heirloom tomatoes, I use a variety
6 cloves garlic
1 large yellow onion
1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. chicken stock
1 c. fresh basil
4 bay leaves
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Core tomatoes and cut in half (you can leave cherry tomatoes whole), placing cut side down on a half sheet pan or large baking pan.  Add garlic cloves and onions.  Drizzle with olive oil and place into the oven, roasting for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Working in small batches, place roasted vegetables into a blender and blend until completely pureed, adding basil to a few batches - pouring blended mixture into stock pot.  Add chicken stock, bay leaves, butter and cream to pot, bring to simmer and cook with top off for 30 minutes to reduce. 

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!