As a rough estimate I would use 250g of tomatoes per person. You want half cherry tomatoes and half medium sizes vine tomatoes. There are many different recipes for this, but mine is just about the tomato. No onion, no vegetable stock, just tomatoes. For me, the key is to cook the skins properly to release the full flavour. I also use the core of the tomatoes as it contain the umani – the fifth taste (salt, sweet, bitter, sour and umani). With twenty I am going to make this in advance and freeze it, but don’t forget to take it out of the freezer a day in advance to defrost fully.
For 20 people as this is my Christmas I want the following:
2.5kg Cherry tomatoes
2.5kg Vine tomatoes
1 tbsp per kg of Olive oil – medium (Spanish or greek are good, if it is too strong it can make it bitter)
1 pack of butter (unsalted)
1 thick sliced white bread
Heat the oven to 200C or 180C fan. For this volume of tomatoes I am going to roast them, with smaller amounts you can fry them. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and the vine tomatoes into quarters. Use just a single layer of tomatoes at a time on a baking tray, drizzle over the olive oil and add little salt. Roast the cherry tomatoes for 20 minutes and the vine tomatoes for 30 minutes, turning occasionally. You don’t want them to burn, but you do want them to caramelize a little. The next bit depends on preference. You can either blend them with a hand blender hot or cold. For a deeper red colour, blend them cold, for a smoother texture blend them hot. I will let them cool, blend them until as smooth as possible and then push them through a sieve for a very fine, silk like texture. You can use a mouli if you have one to squeeze out the flavour. If you blend them hot, I would add a tbsp of tomato puree to add a bit of deeper colour back in. If it is too thick you can add a little water or vegetable stock. Taste for salt. But your soup is done.
Croutons can be made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container, but they are best if you start a day before and let the bread go a little stale. Take off the crusts and chop into 1cm cubes. Leave on a tray to dry out overnight. Heat a large knob of butter in a frying pan and in batches cook the croutons until golden, adding new butter each time. Cool and Store.
On the day, start to heat the soup an hour before if cooking for 20. It can take a long time to heat up. Don’t overboil, just get to a very gentle simmer and turn off. Pour the soup into jugs for people to serve themselves. Put bowls of croutons on the table and small jugs of double cream to add a splash to the soup.