Blushing Strawberry Onion and Tomato Soup is equally delicious served hot or chilled, and makes a refreshing dinner along with a green salad on a hot summer evening.
I promise that’s not just poor grammar in the title (as in, where did that comma go?). I’m talking about what is actually called a “strawberry onion”, which was a new-to-me thing until this year when I went strawberry picking here in Florida. (Oddly enough, I never encountered a strawberry onion all the years I went picking back home in New York…maybe it’s a Florida thing?)
If you’re not familiar with them, strawberry onions are grown near the berry fields (I’ve heard to keep bugs and other pests away, but I’m not sure if that’s an old wives’ tale). The onions are mild and sweet, and are great in things like salads and sandwiches. They tend to disintegrate when cooked, so I thought they’d be a good addition to a pureed tomato soup where they add a lovely sweetness and aren’t required to stay intact.
If you can’t get your hands on a strawberry onion, you can use another sweet onion, such as Vidalia, instead. I upped the sweetness factor a bit and half-caramelized the onion. The end result is a wonderful sweet/savory balance that is equally delicious served hot or chilled based on your preference.
I’m a year-round soup-eater, and I definitely think of this particular soup as a summer dish, not only because it’s refreshing and delicious served chilled, but also because it’s the perfect light meal on a hot summer evening.
Have you ever tried a strawberry onion?
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large strawberry onion, halved and thinly sliced (or substitute another sweet onion, such as Vidalia)
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 (28 oz/794 g) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups (710 ml) low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¾ teaspoon coarse pink Himalayan salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
- Fresh basil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Balsamic reduction
- Whipped cream
- Toasted pine nuts
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- Heat the oil and butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and cook until it’s about halfway caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, salt, and black pepper.
- Bring up to a simmer, and then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down slightly, and cook 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream.
- Carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or using an immersion blender.
- Serve warm or chilled with any garnishes you like.
To Serve Chilled: Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate to chill; top with fresh torn basil, a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream, a drizzle of balsamic reduction, a sprinkle of fresh-ground black pepper, and a few pine nuts.