Golden Pepper and Yellow Tomato Soup

Makes 4 servings

1 pound yellow or orange tomatoes

½ cup white rice

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

3 yellow or orange bell peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch saffron threads

1 bay leaf

2 thyme sprigs,

leaves plucked from stems

1 teaspoon sweet paprika or ½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

1 tablespoon tomato


1 quart vegetable stock

Slivered opal basil or chopped marjoram and parsley for garnish

1. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Slice an X at the base of each tomato. Plunge them, 2 at a time, into the water for about 10 seconds, then remove and set aside. Add the rice and ½ teaspoon salt to the water, lower the heat to simmer, and cook until the rice is tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.

2. Chop the onion. Mince the garlic with a pinch of salt until mushy. Dice the peppers into small squares, removing the seeds and membranes first. You should have about 2 cups. Peel and seed the tomatoes, reserving the juice, then dice the walls and mince the cores.

3. Warm the oil in a soup pot and add the onions, peppers, saffron, bay leaf, thyme, and paprika. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion has begun to soften and color, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, then stir in the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt. Give it a stir and add ¼ cup water.

4. Stew for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes with their juice and the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

5. When ready to serve, reheat the soup with the rice, then ladle it into bowls. Or make a mound of rice in each bowl and spoon the soup around it. Season with pepper and garnish with the fine slivers of basil leaves or marjoram chopped with a few parsley leaves.

- From Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison

Per serving: 250 calories; 9 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams sugar; 9 grams fat; no cholesterol; 852 milligrams sodium; 5 grams dietary fiber.