Dear Culinary SOS: I'm not one for tomato soups, but I was at the Lumberyard in Laguna Beach the other day and had the most marvelous tomato bisque. Do you think you could get the chef to part with the recipe?
Dear Marcia: Lumberyard Restaurant was happy to share its recipe, which we've adapted below. We loved the combination of flavors in this soup, the deep tomato flavor complemented by the roasted peppers and garlic, rich with cream and brightened with lemon juice and a good dose of fresh basil.
Lumberyard Restaurant's roasted tomato bisque
Total time: About 1 hour
Servings: 16 (1-cup) servings
Note: Adapted from Lumberyard Restaurant.
3 pounds plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 pounds red peppers
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups tomato juice
1/3 cup tomato paste
4 ounces (about 6 cups) fresh basil leaves
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cream
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes, and sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes to soften. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2. While the tomatoes are roasting, steam the cauliflower in a steamer set over a pot of boiling water. Steam the cauliflower until tender, then remove from heat and set aside.
3. Roast the peppers: Place the peppers on a rack set over a gas stove-top burner heated over high heat. Roast until the skin on all sides is charred, turning frequently. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the peppers are cool enough to handle. Peel the charred skin from the peppers, then stem and seed the peppers. Mince the peppers. You should have about 2 cups (1 pound) minced roasted pepper.
4. Combine the roasted tomatoes (with any juices), cauliflower, minced peppers, garlic, lemon juice, tomato juice, tomato paste, basil leaves and vegetable broth in a pot or large bowl. Purée the mixture using an immersion blender, or in batches using a blender, before pushing through a strainer into a heavy-bottom soup pot.
5. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in the cream and continue to heat until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in sugar to sweeten as desired.
Each serving: 236 calories; 4 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 62 mg. cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 677 mg. sodium.