I have a certain affinity for unappetizing foods. Foods that look terrible no matter what, but taste so good. Poutine. Beans and rice. Baba ghanoush. This soup certainly fits into that category. It is completely brown. Not the rich, glistening brown of a crispy French fry, but the flat brown of a pureed soup. But (but!) it is worth making.
It starts with summer vegetables you know would taste so good roasted, but in August you can’t bring yourself to turn on the oven. While August may be their peak season, tomatoes and eggplant are usually hanging around until the first frost. Which is a point you welcome turning on the oven, and can take those vegetables that are no longer quite at their peak and concentrate their flavor.
You halve them, along with an onion and a few garlic cloves, and stick them in the oven for 45 minutes to get a little but caramelized. Then you simmer them with some stock for another 45 minutes and puree. What you have is warm and comforting, but not a heavy soup. It is a fall soup made with summer ingredients, or a perfect soup for the transition of seasons. It’s not pretty, but we all have our days.
Besides the eggplant, tomato, and onions I used for this recipe, the rest of my Potter Hill CSA share this week was celeriac, spicy lettuce mix, chard, mustard greens, Tokyo bekana, parsley, and a jalapeño. Alongside this soup, we had a salad of spicy greens dressed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I’m going to use basically all of the greens in the Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas with Swiss Chard and Cumin from Dinner: Changing the Game. I haven’t decided how to use the celeriac and parsley yet, but I’ve made this slaw in the past and loved it. If you can’t decide how to use a jalapeño, you could always slice it and throw it into the jar of pickles you’ve already made, or use it to flavor a jar of pickles of another vegetable (spicy pickles carrots!!!).
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 3 medium tomatoes, halved
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise
- 1 small onion, halved
- 6 large garlic cloves (do not peel)
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves on baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast for 20 minutes, then check to make sure everything is doing okay (especially the garlic cloves). Rotate the pan and return to the oven for 25 more minutes. All of the vegetables should be soft and slightly charred.
Let cool slightly and remove the skin/peel from the eggplant, onion, and garlic. Add all to the pot along with the tomatoes, broth, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook with the lid on for 45 minutes. Using a stick blender puree the soup (or, you can blend in batches in a food processor or blender). Taste for seasoning and serve with crusty bread and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.