Linton Hopkins: A Man with A Can and a Plan
As the founding partner of the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, past president of the Southern Foodways Alliance and board member of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Linton Hopkins believes deeply in preservation—of culture, tradition and food.
That’s why the man who practices and preaches the gospel of seasonality in his home and many Atlanta restaurants—including Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch and The Café at Linton’s in the Atlanta Botanical Garden—stood in my kitchen during his visit to the Chefs Series a few week ago and made a soup with canned tomatoes.
Like me, Linton believes tomatoes are only for summer. But in soup season, when fresh tomatoes are little more than a memory, he reaches for a can opener and 28 ounces of San Marzanos.
But of course it was much more than that. Linton is high energy, incredibly passionate about food and a charming teacher. So the participants and I got a fascinating lesson in DOP, or a special certification that guarantees that the tomatoes are the San Marzano variety.
He wanted everyone to learn how to break down a duck, so he brought a duck for everyone and we had duck breast with persimmon bacon chutney and rutabaga gratin. We made cashew cheese, a shaved root vegetable salad and tarte tatin. But my favorite was that tomato soup—so simple, so delicious—topped with basil pesto and olive bread croutons. So many ways to have a great meal when fresh produce is in its slowest season.
Linton Hopkins’ Tomato Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup sliced yellow onion
- 4 cups San Marzano canned tomatoes
- ½ bay leaf
- 1 each thyme sprig
- 2 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup water
- Sweat the onions and garlic slowly in oil and butter over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato, bay leaf, thyme and salt.
- Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until tomatoes soften.
- Add water and cook another 10 minutes.
- Remove thyme and bay leaf and puree in batches.
- To plate: pour tomato soup into bowl and top with basil pesto and olive bread croutons.