News from Windflower Farm: Roasted Tomato & Fennel Soup

CSA Delivery 12, August 24, 2010.

In this week’s shares you’ll find beefsteak tomatoes, cherry or Juliet tomatoes, and some heirloom or plum tomatoes.  You’ll also get bell peppers, sweet corn or beans, depending on your site, lettuce, and perhaps some Swiss chard.  And you’ll choose between celery or fennel, French Breakfast radishes or Hakurei turnips, cucumbers, eggplants or chiles, and dill, basil or cilantro.  Late blight, the disease that ruined last year’s tomato crop, is here in the county, but so far we have not found it on our farm.  The return of cooler weather has slowed our squash and cucumber crops, but it should be good for our fall greens.  A day-long rain today has given us some relief after another prolonged dry period.

Reminder: Our open house on the farm is this weekend (August 28-29), and you are all invited.  See last week’s note for details.  The weather station predicts a pleasant weekend.

I hope to see you here, Ted

ROASTED TOMATO & FENNEL SOUP

Taken from Fine Cooking

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil; 2 ½ lb tomatoes, cored, halved and seeded; 1 medium-large fennel bulb, cored and diced; 1 medium yellow onion, diced; 2 cloves garlic, chopped; salt and pepper; 2 cups low-salt chicken broth; ½ cup milk; 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme; ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Place a rack directly under the broiler element and turn to high. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tbs olive oil and arrange the tomatoes on the sheet, cut side down.  Drizzle 1 tbs oil over the tomatoes.  Rub the oil all over the tomato skins.  Broil until skins are charred and shrunken, turning as necessary, 8-10 minutes total.  Let them cool and discard the skins.  Heat the remaining 2 tbs oil in a saucepan or pot over medium heat.  Add the fennel, onion, garlic and ½ tsp salt.  Cook until softened and golden, 10-15 minutes.  Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to release the brown bits.  Add the tomatoes and any juices from the baking sheet.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the fennel is very tender, 5 minutes.  Puree the soup with a hand blender.  Return the soup to the pot, add the milk and thyme, and heat gently over medium-high heat, 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and top each serving with goat cheese and fennel fronds.  Serves 4 to 6.

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