4poundscherry tomatoes, stems removed and quartered
3teaspoonssalt, plus more to taste
1/2cupfresh basil, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/8cupfresh mint, chopped
1teaspoontabasco hot sauce, plus more to taste
1teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
For the Basil Oil:
2cupspacked basil leaves
For the Brioche Croutons:
1loaf brioche bread
3tablespoonsgood olive oil
1/2teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
For the Summertime Fresh Tomato Soup:
Toss tomatoes with salt and sugar, cover with saran wrap tightly and set aside for 20 minutes.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low flame. Add tomatoes and all of their juices. Cook, stirring occasionally, for one hour, adding a 1/4 cup of water every ten minutes or so.
At the one hour point the tomatoes should be deeply blistered and soft (most of them will have burst by this time). Stir in the chopped herbs, tabasco, ground pepper, and any remaining water, cook for another 5 minutes.
In batches transfer soup to a blender or food processor and pulse until completely smooth. You may run it though a strainer after blending if you want super silky soup, but I like a little texture. Both wats are delicious!
Once smooth, return soup to pot, add remaining olive oil, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and adjust seasoning to taste.
Pour soup into bowls, top with croutons and basil oil, and serve at once!
For the Basil Oil:
Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a rapid boil. Add basil leaves and blanch for 15 seconds. Remove with tongues and immediately rinse under VERY cold water. Pat basil dry with paper towels. Transfer to blender. Add oil and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over soup, or store to use for later!
For the brioche croutons:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
Slice the bread into about 1-inch thick slices. Cut off the crusts and then cut the slices into a 3/4-inch dice.
Place the croutons in a large bowl, and toss them with the oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them in an even layer on a sheet pan.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, tossing once, or until they're golden on all sides. Cool to room temperature.