August is tomato season, and the vines are heavy with ripe, delectable fruit. While tomatoes shine this time of year with just a sprinkling of salt, this soup from Herons, the acclaimed restaurant at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina, is a deliciously simple and elegant way to highlight heirloom varieties. We recommend serving the dish as a starter during your next summer dinner party, or enjoying it as a light lunch paired with a fresh, green salad. Here’s how to make it at home.
The Umstead Hotel and Spa’s Heirloom Tomato Soup
Yields 6 servings
5 large heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 sprig of basil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 small white onion, sliced thin
Balsamic vinegar (up to 1/4 cup)
In a medium size saucepan, gently sweat the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Once the onions are translucent and tender, add the tomatoes and a sprig of basil. Continue to cook on medium heat until the tomatoes are soft and completely cooked through, then remove from the heat. Using tongs, remove the basil from the pan. Transfer the soup base to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pass the contents of the blender through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar. While whisking vigorously, drizzle in olive oil until the soup takes on a shiny finish. Season with kosher salt to taste.