Take on the summer heat with this cool version of tomato soup, both elegant and easy to prepare. It features plum tomatoes, which are about the shape and size of eggs and are specifically grown for making sauce. They are perfect for this soup.

Plum tomatoes are highly flavorful with a solid fleshy content because they have fewer seed compartments than other varieties of tomatoes. The Spanish explorer Cortez discovered tomatoes growing in Montezuma's gardens and brought seeds back to Europe where they became popular, especially in Italy.

Add in some basil, which comes in over 50 varieties, and you have the beginning of a great soup. Basil is steeped in folklore. One legend, for example, is that it could cure the bite of the dragon-like creature known as a basilisk hence the name basil. This creature was supposed to have the head of a rooster, the body of a serpent and the wings of a bat. Accordingly, basil was thought to have medicinal properties when applied to the bites or stings of animals.

Another wonderful herb, with seemingly endless tales, is rosemary. The name derives from the Latin, ros, meaning dew, and marinus, meaning sea; hence, one of its common names is "dew of the sea." The ancient Greeks burned it to drive away evil spirits and illnesses, and it was believed that a fresh twig beneath your pillow would prevent nightmares and ensure a good night's sleep.

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Balsamic vinegar adds a tangy acidity and you can add a dollop of sour cream to thicken the soup and give it a somewhat creamy quality. Chill for a fresh, clean quality and taste that is a great counterbalance to hot weather.

Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: Makes 4 servings.
Serving size: 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups low-sodium organic chicken stock (a little more stock may be added, depending on how thick you want the soup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Reduced fat sour cream to garnish
  • 4 sprigs parsley to garnish

Directions

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  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rub a little oil on surface of a baking dish. Toss tomatoes and garlic cloves with remaining oil in bowl. Place tomato halves and garlic on baking dish. Roast for about 1 hour. (A little charring is tasty but don't burn the tomatoes or garlic.)
  3. Remove from oven. Snip off garlic clove ends. Hand squeeze (be careful, they are hot!) or use the blade of a butter knife to squeeze out softened garlic from the skins into a blender or food processor.
  4. Add tomatoes to processor, scraping the bits to capture all the flavor. Add stock, basil, rosemary and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Let cool and place in refrigerator to chill. Divide among 4 bowls, garnish with a dollop of sour cream and parsley and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
126 calories
6 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
11 g carbohydrate
5 g protein
4 g dietary fiber
53 mg sodium