While October might be pushing it for "late summer," farmers' markets can still be counted on for inexpensive, past-their-prime tomatoes. And those are perfectly suited for the treatment they get in this wonderful soup, from the Saltie cookbook: a slow roast with olive oil to concentrate their acidity and sweetness. Along with garlic, sage, and rosemary, they're the heart of this spare and satisfying soup.
Why I Picked This Recipe: It's a perfect time of year for soups, and this vegetarian recipe's use of concentrated tomatoes, plenty of garlic, and woodsy herbs sizzled in olive oil made for an intriguing combination.
What Worked: The simplicity of this recipe is wonderful, and the steps work out nicely to allow most of it to be prepared while the tomatoes are roasting, keeping the prep and cook time short.
What Didn't: The tomatoes weren't quite as caramelized as I'd hoped in the recommended time and oven temperature; an adjustment to either might yield more deeply flavored results.
Suggested Tweaks: Fregola is a type of pasta that can be hard to find, but Israeli couscous is a perfect substitute, as is farro or another grain.
Adapted from Saltie: A Cookbook.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 25 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 12 Roma tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthwise
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups fregola (or substitute Israeli cous cous, farro, or another grain)
- 12 cloves garlic, sliced
- 6 sprigs rosemary
- 6 leaves fresh sage
- 1 bunch kale
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arrange the tomatoes skin-side down on a baking sheet and drizzle evenly with olive oil (leave plenty of room to allow them to caramelize). Season generously with salt and roast until concentrated and charring a little on the edges, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the fregola (or substitute) in salted water until al dente, then drain and toss with a little more oil to keep it from sticking.
In the bottom of a large heavy soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until shimming. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes, then add the rosemary and sage (they will sizzle) and cook until fragrant, about a minute longer. Stir in the roasted tomatoes along with 4 cups of water and bring to a simmer.
Add the kale and season to taste with salt. Simmer until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes, then add the cooked fregola. Laddle into bowls, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.