About the Recipe
July brings tomato and fennel season to the UK! We love to taste these two ingredients in a warm summer soup, that'll transport you to a balmy, holiday evening on the Italian Riviera.
Many of the tomatoes in our supermarkets come from warmer regions in Europe, like Italy, Turkey, and Spain. But those areas are scarce in freshwater and demand for these ruby-red crops places a strain on local resources.
So, make the most of this season by choosing delicious, locally-grown tomatoes that can drink from rain-quenched land here in the UK.
We're using all parts of the fennel here too; there's no food going to waste!
Although this recipe takes a little longer to make, it's still super easy to prepare. Roasting helps each vegetable take on an intense, caramelised flavour - trust us, this is worth the wait!
750g fresh tomatoes
1 tbsp + ½ tsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp salt
Black pepper, to taste
How to make the recipe
1. Preheat your oven to 160°c and line a large baking tray or roasting tin.
2. Prepare your fennel. Carefully remove the fronds (leaflike-part) from the bulb and place them to one side; we'll use these later. Remove the stalks, cutting as close to the bulb as possible. Slice the stalks and place them to one side too. Cut the bulb in half and then again into quarters. Place them on the baking tray or roasting tin.
3. Prepare your tomatoes. If you have larger tomatoes, cut them in half and lay sliced-face up on the roasting tin too. If you have smaller cherry tomatoes, leave them whole.
4. Prepare your onion and garlic. Cut your onion into eight wedges and place in the roasting tin. Add garlic cloves to the tin, with their skin on.
5. Roast vegetables. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over all the vegetables in the tray or roasting tin and sprinkle them with salt. Place the tray into the oven and roast for 1 hour. After the hour's up, remove the tray and place to one side to cool for a few minutes.
6. Saute fennel stalks. Over medium heat, add the remaining 1/2 tsp of olive oil to a large pot and add the sliced fennel stalk. Saute for 4 minutes.
7. Add roasted vegetables. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste to the large pot, fry for 30 seconds, and then add the roasted fennel, tomato, and onions. Carefully peel and remove the skin from the roasted garlic and add the softened garlic to the pot too.
8. Simmer the soup. Add vegetable stock, maple syrup, and a bay leaf to the same pot and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Then, allow the soup to cool for a little and then blend until smooth - you may need to add a little water to reach the consistency you love.
9. Serve. Gently reheat your soup and serve with torn fennel fronds sprinkled over the top - and your favourite bread or croutons!