This soup gets its freshness from a hint of lemon verbena.  Be sure to choose the sweetest tomatoes you can find.  I like to serve this soup over a piece of poached salmon. 

1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 dozen large lemon verbena leaves
3 cups fruity white wine (I prefer Chenin Blanc from Goosecross Cellars )
6 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored
1/4 tsp. chili aleppo flakes
Fine sea salt and pepper, to taste
Creme fraiche for garnish (optional)
Lemon verbena leaves for garnish (optional) 

You will also need:
1 large pot with lid

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, garlic and lemon verbena leaves.  Cover the pot, reduce the heat and let the vegetables sweat until the onions are soft (about 10 minutes).  Add the wine and increase the heat to medium high.  Cook uncovered until the wine has reduced by half.  Add the whole cored tomatoes, turn the heat to high and cover the pot.  Cook for only 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to change consistency and the skins crack.  Turn off the heat and let rest for about 5 minutes.  Transfer the contents to the blender (you may have to do this in two batches) and puree the soup until it is thickened.  Strain to remove the lemon verbena and tomato peels.  Add the chili flakes, sea salt and pepper, to taste. 

Cover tightly and chill until ready to serve.  

Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and lemon verbena leaves for garnish. 

This soup can be made a couple of days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

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