In this recipe from Chef Ray Garcia, roasting further concentrates the flavor of these early harvested tomatoes. If Early Girls are not available, substitute large plum tomatoes or high-quality canned San Marzano tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato Soup
20 Early Girl tomatoes
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 leeks, white and light green portions, diced
2 Tbs. roasted garlic
8 cups vegetable stock, plus more as needed
2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
Position 1 rack in the upper third and 1 rack in the lower third of an oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and transfer to a large bowl. Add 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on 2 baking sheets and transfer to the oven. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and slightly caramelized, about 2 hours, rotating the pans from top to bottom and 180 degrees after 1 hour.
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, celery and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, any accumulated juices and the roasted garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add the 8 cups stock and the thyme, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes more.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed with more stock and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.