This is our summer soup, almost the only one we serve hot for about five months. Not that summer in Ireland lasts five months, more like five days in May usually, but ripe well-flavoured tomatoes keep coming, right up to late October. It is easy to make and has a simple but intense flavour - ripe, roasted tomatoes, set off by whatever herbs you have to hand. Again, keep it simple; most of the time we use basil, oregano and parsley, no more. The passata (sieved tomatoes in a carton available in shops), is optional, depending on how well-flavoured your tomatoes were to start with. This recipe will make about 2.2 litres, enough for six to eight portions.
CHOP THE TOMATOES IN HALVES, toss them in a little olive oil and roast in a hot oven, turning occasionally, until browning. Peel the garlic cloves and add them to the tomatoes, with the rosemary and thyme, about five minutes into the cooking.
Chop the onion and cook it in a little olive oil, until soft. Transfer both the onion and the tomatoes to a large pot, discarding the herb stalks, and add in the passata and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. Blend to get a smooth puree, then sieve it to get the skins out. If the soup is thicker than you like, you can, at this stage, dilute it with a little water and bring it back up to the boil. Season well and stir in the fresh herbs; or stir the herbs into each individual portion.
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