Tomato soup

Tomato soup

Sopa de tomate


When I was growing up I used to spend long, carefree summer days at my grandmother’s beach house in Costa da Caparica, and when tomatoes were in peak season we would make soup. Nowadays I put a little toast in the bottom of the bowl and scatter some fresh mint leaves on top, and as the soup is ladled into the bowl the vibrant smell of tomatoes meeting mint takes me straight back to those days.

Try to find the best, ripest tomatoes you can for this. I like a selection of vine-ripened plum and heirloom tomatoes (yellow, green, tiger); always use what you love. It is a thick and chunky soup – if you’d prefer it more liquid, you can top it up with chicken or vegetable stock, tomato water or even plain water.

You can also add pork fat or chunks of lardo to the olive oil in the pan, but feel free to keep it vegetarian (I know which I prefer). Any leftovers could be turned into pasta sauce or served alongside a nice piece of grilled sea bass or mackerel.


Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 red onion, sliced into 3–4mm rings
2 brown onions, sliced into 3–4mm rings
3 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus a little to serve
2 tablespoons madeira, plus a little to serve
1.3kg tomatoes, roughly chopped, (a mixture of types)
4 slices sourdough or other rustic loaf, thickly sliced
a small handful mint leaves
a few thin slices lardo or a poached egg per person, (optional)
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, wide pan over a low heat, add the red and brown onions and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and juicy. Season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the sherry vinegar and Madeira, increase the heat to medium and simmer for 2 more minutes to burn off some of the alcohol. Stir in the chopped tomatoes. Cook, covered, over a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down a bit but are not mushy.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Drizzle each side of the bread with olive oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Taste the soup for seasoning, adding a dash of sherry vinegar and Madeira if needed. To serve, place a slice of toast in each bowl with a few mint leaves on top and ladle the soup over. Finish with a few slices of lardo or a poached egg.
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