Tomato Soup with Ricotta and Crispy Bacon
“Let ripe summer tomatoes take over your kitchen and celebrate their sweetness with this bright and fruity soup. It's so light that it can easily handle a sprinkle of crispy bacon and a dollop of fresh ricotta—the salty, smoky meat and the creamy cheese sink in perfectly.
When my counter fills with soft tomatoes that need to be enjoyed, this recipe is my favorite solution. It’s rustic and easy to prepare, but there is one rule: use the very best fruit. If your tomatoes are bland and watery, it’s useless to throw them in. For the pure taste of summer, only the tastiest and ripest tomatoes will do. From then on, the recipe is very simple, with no precooking or fiddly peeling of the fruit. The tomatoes are chopped and quickly cooked in vegetable broth, then puréed and topped with a handful of fresh basil, crispy fried bacon, and a touch of ricotta.”
Reprinted with permission from Eat in my Kitchen: to Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat by Meike Peters, copyright © 2016. Published by Prestel. Photography: Meike Peters
1 large clove garlic, preferably from a young bulb
Fine sea salt
2 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup hot vegetable broth, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
Pinch of sugar
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, very thinly sliced
3 to 4 slices bacon (use 4 slices for 4 appetizer portions)
4 to 8 heaping teaspoons fresh ricotta
8 to 12 small fresh basil leaves
A few black peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle
Make the tomato soup: roughly chop the garlic then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Use the side of a large knife to press and rub the garlic and salt into a smooth paste.
In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium–high heat. Add the garlic paste and tomatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, bay leaf, and season to taste with sugar and pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Take the soup off the heat and remove and discard the bay leaf.
In a food processor or blender, or with an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. If it’s too thick, gradually add more broth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and vinegar and stir in the basil, cover and keep warm.
For the topping, heat a small splash of olive oil in a medium, heavy pan over medium–high heat. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Gently break the bacon into large pieces.
Divide the soup among bowls and top each serving with 2 teaspoons of ricotta. Sprinkle with the bacon, fresh basil, and crushed peppercorns.
2 to 4 servings