Visiting Oklahoma’s farmers’ markets in the summertime reveals a bounty of perfectly ripe fruits and vibrant vegetables. There are countless ways to prepare these gems of summer, and my first and favorite way to capture the flavor of summer produce is with soup.

Stay with me here. I love soup year round. In fact, I often joke that my favorite food group is “soup.” Hot or cold, raw or cooked, soup is at once filling, soothing and healthy. Many, however, do not think of soup as a regular meal during the summer; I find a small bowl of soup made with fresh ingredients stands as a meal on its own or makes a great accompaniment to a fresh salad.

Making soup in the summertime does require the right timing. Heating a kitchen by making a pot of soup is not the best thing to do at the hottest part of the day. But cooking soup (or anything, for that matter) first thing in the morning ensures that the kitchen will be cool, and heat won’t hang around for too long. Adapting traditional recipes for the slow cooker can also help to reduce the heat of cooking in the summertime.

Spicy Tomato Soup

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red curry paste, or more, depending on desired heat level
  • 4 c. peeled, roasted tomatoes (or 1 28-oz. can whole plum tomatoes with juice)
  • 1 small sweet potato, cooked through
  • 1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • salt, to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add onion and sauté until onion softens, about three minutes. Add curry paste to onions and stir until it incorporates into the oil and onions.

Add peeled and roasted* tomatoes and sweet potato to a food processor or blender. Process until tomatoes and potato are smooth. Add to the pot containing onions. Add the can of coconut milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for 15 minutes. Salt, to taste, and serve warm.

* To peel and roast tomatoes: Turn on the broiler and position an oven rack about 6 inches below the heating element. Slice the tomatoes in half and place them cut-side down on a baking sheet. Broil the tomatoes 12 to 15 minutes, until skins blister and the tomatoes become aromatic. Let the tomatoes cool enough to handle, then pinch off the skins.

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