A traditional Tuscan soup of tomatoes and bread
In order to import tomatoes great distances, they are picked under-ripe, kept in fridges then ripened at the correct time for sale. This process takes its toll on the flavour. Tomatoes that have been grown under the sun, in healthy soil, picked at the right time, taste better.
Usually chefs recommend that you de-seed, blanch and peel tomatoes. I see this as unnecessary waste. Choose the ripest tomatoes you can get your hands on, they will have the most flavour and should be cheaper, too.
100ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
600g very ripe tomatoes, cut into large pieces (keep the vines if available)
Crust of stale wholemeal bread, torn into pieces (about 80g)
2 sprigs basil, stalks finely cut, leaves whole
Heat a heavy, medium-sized saucepan with roughly 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. Before it begins to brown, add the chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 mins until the tomatoes begin to richen. Add the tomato vine if you have it and 70ml water and bring back to the boil, then remove the vine. Season well with salt and pepper.
Add the bread to the soup and stir to combine. Add more boiling water if the soup is too thick. When you are ready to eat, stir the remaining olive oil into the tomatoes with the basil stalks and leaves, leaving a few to decorate the top. Check the seasoning and serve dressed with a little more olive oil.
Recipe: Tom Hunt