Gramercy Tavern Smoked Tomato Soup

Gramercy Tavern Restaurant Recipe

4 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (about 7), cored and quartered
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for seasoning
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 scant teaspoon pimenton
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 sprigs basil, plus 20 small leaves
1/3 cup diced pickled Swiss chard stems
1 cup applewood chips

Prepare a stovetop smoker or an outdoor grill for smoking with the applewood chips; maintain a temperature of about 140 degrees. In a large bowl, season the tomatoes with oil, salt, and pepper. When the wood chips are mostly gray, put the tomatoes skin side down on the grate (over indirect heat if using an outdoor grill) and smoke for 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a platter.

In a large pot, heat the 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the pimentón and stir for a few seconds, then add the sherry and balsamic vinegars and simmer until they are almost gone. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost gone. Add the smoked tomatoes, with their juices, the thyme, rosemary, and butter, cover the pot, and simmer, stirring often and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the tomatoes are cooked down and the vegetables are completely soft, about 30 minutes. Add the basil sprigs and simmer for 5 minutes more. Discard the thyme, rosemary, and basil. Process the soup in a blender in batches until smooth, then pass through a fine-mesh strainer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup topped with the pickled Swiss chard stems and basil leaves. Serves 6.