The cozy-season path to easy tomato soup starts with roasting

Tomato Soup With 'Grilled Cheese.'

JENNIFER CHASE / FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

There's a cruel irony when it comes to tomato soup: I want to use fresh tomatoes in it, but by the time sweater weather comes around and has me in a soup frame of mind, good local tomatoes are a thing of the past. That has previously left me with just two choices: Wait until next year, or use canned tomatoes.

The open-a-can route is an excellent option, really: Those tomatoes are super flavorful and a great timesaver. But Bobby Flay's new book inspired another way to turn out-of-season tomatoes and a mere handful of other ingredients into something good enough to slurp by the spoonful. You roast them, along with a chopped sweet onion, fairly slowly, which concentrates them. Then you simmer them with white wine and herbs.

The topper is everything: Flay's recipe includes instructions for frichi, the crisp Italian disks made from grated and baked cheese. His book, "Bobby Flay Fit" (Clarkson Potter, 2017), is a collection of lighter recipes, and this is his way to evoke the crunch and fat of a grilled cheese sandwich without the butter or bread.

To be fair, Flay instructs you to start this recipe by getting "your hands on great tomatoes." I'll keep that in mind when the local beauties are piling up at the farmers market next summer. It won't be sweater weather, but I suppose I can always chill the soup down and call it gazpacho.