Roasted Tomato Soup with Sage

Roasted Tomato and Sage Soup - The Messy Baker

23 Sep Roasted Tomato Soup with Sage

Roasted Tomato Soup with Sage -

This blog has ruined me. Forever.

Just this week I realized what my family has been accusing me of for years is actually true. I am a food snob.

Not the Beluga-Caviar-or-Bust kind of food snob, but a food snob nonetheless. The facts are indisputable. I am a Fresh-or-Forget-It, Real-or-Reject-It kind of food snob.

I’ve been denying this allegation, preferring instead to call myself merely “discerning” or “discriminating”. After all, I don’t go weak in the knees for foie gras or pine for white truffle oil. I failed the Cheese or Font test (Thanks to Clare and Phil for sending me the link to this ego-crushing challenge), and couldn’t care less about sushi.

But over the past three years, as I explored food for this blog, the culinary bar has crept ever higher. Without me even noticing. And this week I could no longer deny it.

My gastronomic reality check? Tomato and Sage Soup. I made it a lot in university as an antidote to my draughty apartment. And with the autumn nip in the air, I thought hot soup would be the perfect way to use up some of my self-replenishing tomatoes. And a bit of my rambunctious sage.

But when I pulled out the recipe — which I hadn’t made since graduation — I was horrified to see it used no tomatoes whatsoever. None. Instead, my “homemade” tomato soup called for 3 cups of stock and a large tin of tomato paste.

How could this be?

Seems I, not the recipe, have changed. Sure, the Old Me made her own granola and yogurt, but she also bought bargain brand margarine and lived on popcorn when cramming for exams. The Old Me would have been slurping that cheap and convenient soup before the New Me was finished slicing the vine-ripe tomatoes. Much as the Old Me loved that soup, The New Me just couldn’t bring herself to make, let alone blog about, tarted up tinned goods.

So it’s official. I am a food snob.

And this blog is to blame.

With tomato and sage on the brain, I turned to John Bishop for inspiration. His book Fresh: Seasonal Recipes Made with Local Foods (Douglas & McIntyre, 2007) won Gold at last year’s Canadian Culinary Book Awards. It contains a recipe for tomato soup complete with sage biscuits. Like my student version, it has sherry, onions and garlic, but the similarities end there.

Below is my variation of Bishop’s soup — Roasted Tomato Soup with Sage. Sure, it takes a lot longer to make than the slap-dash tomato-paste version. But while my taste buds have grown, so have my multi-tasking skills. While the tomatoes roasted, I answered emails. And as the soup gently simmered, I folded laundry. In the end? I got some work done and a pot of delicious soup as a reward.

My only complaint? This dish cries out for a hunk of aged cheddar and a thick slab of homemade bread. I had neither on hand. Just like when I was a student.

Roasted Tomato and Soup with Sage -

Do you look over old recipes and cringe? How has your palate changed? Or am I the only one whose tastes have morphed?

Roasted Tomato and Sage Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
Want to use up some of the ripe tomatoes from your garden -- or your neighbour's garden? This roasted tomato soup has a fresh twist on an old classic.
  • 2lb ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • fine sea salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • ⅓ cup dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • creme fraiche or cream
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a roasting pan with the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until cooked.
  2. Put roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic in a saucepan. Add stock, sherry and honey. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Add sage leaves and allow to simmer 10 more minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, or a standard blender and working in batches, purée the soup until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds and skins. Season with more salt if necessary and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Garnish with creme fraiche or cream, if desired.


Related Post

  • Tiffany Lange
    Posted at 09:27h, 23 September Reply

    This will be the perfect way to finish up the tomatoes I still have from the garden!
    There's nothing wrong with that kind of food snobbery Charmain :)

  • Jill U Adams
    Posted at 09:39h, 23 September Reply

    I'm with you Charmian. When you use fresh-picked vegetables, you can hardly go wrong. I'm learning to trust them to be delicious, without help from sauces or spices (my crutches in former days).

    Can't wait to try your soup recipe — I've got loads of sage growing in my garden.

  • Daniel
    Posted at 11:18h, 23 September Reply

    You're way too hard on yourself. Shuddering at tomato soup made from canned tomato paste is simple good taste.

    However, if you demanded a tomato soup recipe made only with $4 (each!) heirloom tomatoes…. THEN you'd be a food snob.

    Casual Kitchen

  • danamccauley
    Posted at 12:48h, 23 September Reply

    So, you say that your a food snob like it's a problem – for me it's the solution!

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 12:53h, 23 September Reply

    I am the same way! But we knew we were in the right company, right? except I lived on grapes and cheese toast when cramming for exams.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 12:53h, 23 September Reply

    I am the same way! But we knew we were in the right company, right? except I lived on grapes and cheese toast when cramming for exams.

    Posted at 13:01h, 23 September Reply

    This soup sounds really good. I have a friend who makes roasted red pepper soup, so there's something to be said about the'roasting.'Not an expert, but it does give that special flavour.

    There's nothing wrong with enjoying (eating or making or being a food snob) great food with quality ingredients, in fact I believe it's the only way.

    Most of my favorite 'old recipes' are traditional old family ones so if I've morphed it's by trying to cut out some of the fat in them without sacrificing flavour. But I make these recipes occasionally so I don't bother too much. Gotta use butter! :) When I make my grandmothers meatball recipe I bake them in the oven instead of pan frying.

  • Frugal Kiwi
    Posted at 13:16h, 23 September Reply

    The same thing is happening to me even as we speak, Charmain. It was definitely creeping in, but now I've got a food blog, well, look out.

    My current pet peeve is recipes that call for tinned cream of whatever soups. I'm a Southerner, so I ate that stuff growing up, but now? No way.

  • Cheryl @ 5secondrule
    Posted at 14:00h, 23 September Reply

    I'm impressed that you even made soup while in university. When I was in college, I just heated up a can of Campbell's! I felt superior when I mixed in a can of milk instead of water, too, like, "I'm using milk! That must mean I'm COOKING."

  • Angelique from Bitchin' Lifestyle
    Posted at 17:15h, 23 September Reply

    GUILTY! I used to make "home made" pasta sauce back in the day, and surprise – it called for tomato paste. EW.

    Anyways… this looks yummy… especially since summer is SO over here in Montreal!

  • Errin
    Posted at 19:43h, 23 September Reply

    I just found your blog on tastespotting and I really enjoyed this post. I feel the same way, and find myself enforcing the new rules onto my flatmate (ahem, boyfriend). I would like to think that that you and I haven't changed…we were just much poorer in our younger days and had to be inventive with our cooking :)

  • Julie
    Posted at 23:57h, 23 September Reply

    This looks fantastic! I love homemade tomato soup. And this time of year I want to put away as many tomatoes as I can in as many ways as I can! thanks!

  • One of the Woodside Joneses
    Posted at 09:57h, 24 September Reply

    I think 'snob' is the wrong word. Too 'snobby'. How about 'enthusiast' or 'fanatic'? Don't hate me because I use tinned tomatoes (but I do buy the San Marzanos). ;-D

    Sheepishly, Jill

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 14:38h, 24 September Reply

    Nice to know I'm not alone in this.

    Tiffany, this soup did my tomatoes justice. If you try it, I hope you like it.

    Jill, I agree. As my ingredients get better the less I use "crutches" — although I still love spices.

    Daniel, I'm not into the ultra expensive tomatoes, but would love to grow heirlooms next year. I just can't believe I used to embrace a soup made with tomato paste!!

    Dana, I like your attitude!

    Cheryl A, grapes and cheese toast? Far too healthy for cramming. :-)

    Francesca, I love roasted red pepper soup. Yes, the roasting does bring out flavours. And meatballs in the oven is a smart way to reduce fat without sacrificing flavour — all a matter of balance isn't it?

    Frugal Kiwi, watch out. You will never look at food the same way again. As for the condensed soup recipes? I actually used to make them and (gulp) LIKED them. Now? I can taste the salt and preservative.

    Cheryl@5Second, I cooked a lot in university because it saved money. I had my own apartment, so it wasn't hard.

    Angelique, glad to see we are guilty together. I don't mind using the odd bit of tomato paste, but in lieu or tomatoes?? That's just crazy.

    Errin, I'll take your generous out on this. Yes, I was poor and innovative. That's it!

    Julie, how do you put away your tomatoes? I'm open to suggestions!

    Jill, I use tinned tomatoes, too. In the winter you have to since the fresh ones have the texture of soap and the taste of cardboard. You're right that the San Marzono are the best, but not all supermarkets carry them.

  • Vivian
    Posted at 19:17h, 24 September Reply

    Let's not be too hard on the old tins of tomato paste! Generally canned produce is picked at its prime to insure the best flavour. Granted, whole tomatoes are the best quality (canned) but paste has been shown to have the highest content and quality of lycopene. Not everyone has the luxury of even being able to access or afford a tin of tomato paste. Is love to make my own San Marzano sauce, unfortunately they are still green on the vine and we are especting frost tonight. That said, and sorry to be so long-winded but during the 70s, one of our favorite party snacks was triskets topped with a combo of cubed orange cheddar, diced onion and mayonnaise, then broiled! Yikes! Damn tasty though, if you didn't worry about the salt and fat!

  • Vivian
    Posted at 19:20h, 24 September Reply

    Oops, pardon the spelling boo-boos. Should have "previewed", sorry.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 19:38h, 24 September Reply

    Vivian, you raise some good points. Yes, tinned tomatoes are picked at their prime, so are quite flavourful. And I didn't know about tomato paste being the highest in lycopene. Thanks for this information.

    I used to eat Triscuits with melted cheese, too. Even without mayonnaise there was more than enough fat!

    For the record, I don't hate tomato paste. I use it occasionally for a flavour boost. My objection was using it as a total replacement for tomatoes.

    Thanks again for being your wise balanced view.

    Posted at 10:28h, 29 September Reply

    I made your soup after I saw it on foodgawker and it was so easy and delicious! I tried 3 different varieties of tomatoes from my garden and the farmer's market to see if it made a difference and each one was a totally different soup. My freezer is now full of homemade soup for the winter. Thanks. (oh and I made a blog entry about it. I'm not a food blogger but I do love to cook so once in awhile a food entry get's in there.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 18:18h, 29 September Reply

    Katie, thanks so much for taking the time to post your results. I'm thrilled you like the soup. I had no idea different tomatoes would make different tasting soups, but it makes sense when I think about it.

    Thanks also for blogging about your experience. I'm heading to your blog right now to read all about it.

  • Kristin
    Posted at 14:15h, 06 October Reply

    Food snobs unite! I think most of us foodies out there are considered snobs at one point or another…we know what we like, nothing wrong with that!! Onto the soup…this tomato-ey goodness could not have come at a better time. With the cold weather upon us I find all I do is crave soup!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:19h, 07 October Reply

      Thanks Kristin. I thought I was alone in this, but it seems I’m not.

  • Poupette
    Posted at 11:48h, 11 October Reply

    Hi! I’m making the soup right now! I cannot wait to taste it, but already yumminess is coming out of my oven 😉
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:58h, 12 October Reply

      Poupette, you’re right about the smells. It was hard to hold off making the soup! I’d love to hear how your soup turned out.

  • Pretty. Good. Food.
    Posted at 17:22h, 01 September Reply

    This looks delicious! Your photographs are beautiful as well!
    I’ve recently launched my own blog, I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! :) Thanks and Happy Cooking!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:41h, 01 September Reply

      @Pretty. Good. Food., thanks for the kind words. I popped by your blog and am impressed with all your step-by-step shots. I can’t cook and photograph at the same time — I’m far too messy.

      Good luck with the blogging. Be warned. It can become addictive.

  • Bill Rozell
    Posted at 02:03h, 09 July Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this soup. My wife and I had a favorite neighborhood place, Rami’s Caffe in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. This was almost always the soup du jour, so much so that we regulars and the wait staff started referring to it as the “soup of the decade,” said decade being the ’80s, but it crept into the ’90s, too. Rami died in about ’92, and his head waiter tried his best to keep it open with the original menu, but he had to close after a couple of years. While there are a ton of reciped for tomato basil soup, this is the first I’ve found for tomato sage.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:51h, 09 July Reply

      Soup of the decade? I love it.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I hope this soup comes close to the one you remember. If you do try it, I’d love to know how it compares.

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