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Summer Tomato and Basil Soup

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14th-Jul-2017       
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Use the very freshest, ripest, plumpest, bursting-with-flavor tomatoes you can find - preferably ones from your, your neighbour’s or a local farmer’s garden.
Fresh basil and basil oil adds an herb-filled summer flavor to this soup. Serve it chilled or hot, with or without the basil cream. A swirl or a few drops of basil oil is delicious on top of the soup (see recipe below).
The soup can be made a day ahead of time, or frozen for several months. Serves 8 to 10; makes 10 cups.
Ingredients
4 pounds tomatoes (about 6 medium), cored
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound yellow or Vidalia onions (about 3 medium), sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup packed, coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
A few fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Instructions
1)    Make the soup: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Gently drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and cook for about 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately place in the bowl of ice water. Using your fingers or a small, sharp knife, peel the tomatoes. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and set aside.
2)    In a large pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for two to three minutes, stirring well. Add half of the chopped basil and raise the heat to high. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for five minutes.
3)    Add the remaining chopped basil to the soup and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning.
4)    If serving hot, return the soup to the pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Alternatively, the soup can be refrigerated and served chilled. Swirl about a tablespoon of the basil cream into the soup, or the basil oil, and garnish with the basil leaves.

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