The kitchen staff at Michel Nischan’s Westport, CT farm-to-table temple Dressing Room doesn’t have the luxury to cook with fresh tomatoes all year round. But to prepare this wildly popular dish, they buy “as many tomatoes as possible” in the summer and Cryovac them for later, according to Executive Chef Jon Vaast. It’s best served with a mini grilled cheese sandwich; at Cutting Room, they use Nehantic Abbey aged cow’s milk cheese, and it complements the roasted tomatoes exquisitely.
- 6 to 8 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges or home-canned tomatoes, drained and cut into wedges
- 2 cups extra olive oil
- 2 cups scalded milk
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 150 F. Place the tomatoes in a casserole dish just large enough to hold them in one layer and pour the olive oil over them to coat all the wedges evenly. Roast the tomatoes for 4 hours, or until the tomatoes are fully wilted. If possible, leave them in the oven overnight for the best result.
- Transfer the tomatoes, oil and accumulated juices to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- As soon as the tomatoes simmer, lift them from the oil with a spoon (you want some of the oil and juices, although not all) and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add some of the oil, depending on your taste preferences. Blend in batches while slowly adding the scalded milk (milk that's been heated to 180F) and basil.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with basil garnish. (And grilled cheese if possible.)