Marinara Soup with Caper Salt
Using a classic Italian staple, soup-lovers will enjoy this recipe!
- step-by-step directions
- 1 cup salt-packed capers (rinsed with warm water)
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup jarred piennolo tomatoes with their juices
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove (gently smashed and peeled)
- pinch dried oregano
- pinch red chili flakes
- 1 cup tomato broth
- Kosher salt
- 3 basil leaves
- Very good extra-virgin olive oil, preferably intense Sicilian
- 5 pounds very ripe plum or vine-ripened tomatoes (quartered and cored)
- 1 jar piennolo tomatoes (35-ounces)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- For the Caper Salt: In a nonreactive bowl, soak the capers in the vinegar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat the oven to 200˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the capers, then spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet (discard the vinegar). Bake until dry and crisp, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Let the capers cool completely, then finely grind in a spice grinder. (Caper salt keeps in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 month).
- For the Soup: Pass the piennolo tomatoes (with their juices) through the fine-holed disk of a food mill or puree in a blender, then force through a medium-mesh sieve to extract the seeds.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the oil and garlic. Heat over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the oregano and red chili flakes. Let stand 10 seconds, then add the pureed tomatoes and the tomato broth. Return to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors marry, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in a generous pinch each of salt and sugar. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then stir in the basil.
- To Serve: Spread the caper salt on a small plate. Dab the rim of a small soup cup on a wet paper towel to dampen, then dip into the caper salt to rim the edge. Repeat with the remaining cups. Remove and discard the garlic and basil from the soup, then ladle the soup into the cups. Add a drop or two of Sicilian extra-virgin olive oil to each cup.
- For the Tomato Broth: In a food processor or blender, puree the plum tomatoes until smooth. Line a large fine-mesh sieve with a doubled 12-inch square of cheesecloth, then set the sieve over a large, tall nonreactive bowl or other container. Pour the tomato puree into the prepared sieve. Gather the cloth around the mixture and loosely tie together the corners. Put a small plate on top of the sack, then set a heavy weight (like a large can of beans) on top. Chill for 24 hours.
- Remove the bowl with the tomato water from the refrigerator. Very gently squeeze the sack to extract any remaining liquid, then discard the sack. Transfer 6 3/4 cups of the tomato water to a large saucepan (save any remaining for another use).
- Pass the piennolo tomatoes (with their juices) through the fine-holed disk of a food mill or puree in a blender, then force through a medium-mesh sieve to extract the seeds. Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot with the tomato water. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Skim the foam from the top. Chill the tomato broth in an ice bath or in the refrigerator, then whisk in the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Keep chilled until ready to use.
- Tip: If you can't find piennolo tomatoes, use whole, peeled San Marzano canned tomatoes.
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