Roasted Ratatouille Soup

So you've got blossom end rot.

And a bit of powdery mildew.

Throw in a wet spring, hot dry summer, and various other factors, and you have again, a garden that does less than the gardener had hoped.

I'm getting tomatoes.  And zucchini.  Some cukes.  Green onions are good.  Carrots are still doing their thing.  We ate a lot of green beans.  But hey!  My zinnias are colorful and beautiful.

I adore garden tomato soup.  Throw some cored maters in a pot, add oregano and basil and salt and pepper and sugar and red wine vinegar, maybe some extra tomato juice to round it out.  Simmer, smash, taste, puree, stir in a pat or three of butter.

But I LOVE ratatouille.  The eggplant-tomato-zucchini-pepper-onion-garlic fabulous late summer casserole bliss that melts in your mouth and makes you glad that some French or Italian person had the foresight to plant all those things together.

I had a few tomatoes today, and some zucchini, and a boat load of herbs.  I lacked eggplant and more tomatoes and peppers.  The solution is the farmer's market.  I went to the one in Excelsior.  Bought tomatoes and corn from my friend Tom.  Bought eggplant and peppers from the dude next to him.  Had onions and garlic at home.

If vegetables are good, roasted vegetables are better x10.  Caramelized, sweet, smoky, savory, soft, perfect little morsels.  A baking sheet, some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a 375 degree oven are your only tools.

My haul:

Your basic recipe, WIDE open to improv.

Roasted Ratatouille Soup

One large eggplant, cut into 1 inch wedges
two medium green bell peppers, cored and seeded, one inch wedges or strips
2 medium zucchini, one inch wedges
8 large tomatoes, cored, cut into 6-8 wedges
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 red onion, quartered
8-10 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
handful of fresh basil
handful of fresh parsley
handful of fresh oregano
handful of fresh lemon balm (if you have it)
splash of white wine
1 cup tomato juice
1-2 cups water

Place all vegetables on rimmed baking sheets.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  The garlic will finish first, remove it to a large soup pot.

Scrape all vegetables, along with the accumulated juices, olive oil, and brown yummy bits into the soup pot.

Add tomato juice, a splash of white wine (1/2 cup, probably), and 1 cup of water.

Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the herbs, roughly chopped.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.

Remove from heat.  Either use an immersion blender or a regular blender, and puree the soup until smooth.  Of course you can leave it "chunky" if you like, but smooth is oh-so-nice.  Add more water if it seems too thick for your liking.

A dollop of sour cream, or creme fraiche, or a swirl of heavy cream, and maybe a tiny pinch of hot pepper flakes, elevates this soup from the sublime to the divine.