I made this soup for a friend towards the end of summer, with few ingredients. It was delicious because everything was so sweet at that time of year. However, even a great tomato can have too much acidity, so I included sweet red pepper, and the flavor was incredible. Look for a variety such as a bullhorn or Jimmy Nardellos, which are superior to your standard watery capsicum (bell pepper). The squash blossoms are not essential but add the loveliest texture. And, of course, basil – nothing says summer more than the combination of tomato and basil.
4 large red or yellow heirloom tomatoes, such as Amish Paste, Striped German, or Nebraska Wedding
80 ml (21⁄2 fl oz/1⁄3 cup) olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 large carrots or 8 small heirloom carrots, peeled
and finely chopped
150 g (51⁄2 oz) Jimmy Nardello sweet red peppers
(capsicums), cut lengthways, seeds removed, finely
800 ml (27 fl oz) light chicken stock (page 12, or use store-
bought), or water
1/2 bunch basil, plus extra leaves, to garnish
30 g (1 oz) cold butter
8 squash blossoms or zucchini (courgette) flowers,
Cut the tomatoes through the equator, gently squeeze out the seeds and discard. Dice up the flesh and set aside.
Add half the olive oil to a large stockpot and sauté the onion and garlic with 1 teaspoon of the salt for 10–12 minutes until soft but without any color. Next, add the carrots, peppers, and tomatoes with the remaining salt. Sauté for at least 10 minutes before adding the stock and basil, then bring up to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the carrot and pepper are tender.
Remove the basil, then transfer to a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth. Add the butter and remaining olive oil while the machine is still running. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Adjust the consistency with water until it is slightly thicker than thick (double/heavy) cream.
Return to the pot and bring it back to a simmer. Serve hot with two flowers pulled apart over each bowl (discard the stamen first). Garnish with basil leaves and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.