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Fresh Tomato Soup

16-Aug-2013

 

Tomato Soup with Cucumber Panna Cotta

 

I’ve picked a few tomatoes over the last few weeks and now the balance has tipped and lots are ripening all at once. It’s that time of year when I switch from yearning for a juicy, sun-warmed tomato picked fresh from the vine to starting to tear my hair out figuring out how to use them all before fruit flies take over my kitchen! Yes, full-on tomato season has finally arrived at my house and I couldn’t be happier.

I have tons of ways that I use tomatoes but here’s a new (to me) idea. I made this soup for a brunch I hosted last weekend. It’s a cold soup and you only barely heat the tomatoes to get the juices to run freely so it retains that beautiful, fresh tomato flavor. Delicious, refreshing and perfect for a warm, August day.

The recipe is from Tom’s Big Dinners by Tom Douglas, one of my favorite cookbooks. In the photos you’ll notice a pale green “island” in the soup. It’s Cucumber Panna Cotta which is part of the recipe as presented in the cookbook. While the panna cotta is good, it didn’t really contrast well enough with the soup, for my taste. So I’m not going to include the recipe for it.  Back in 2009 Tom shared the soup recipe on CBS’ The Early Show.  At that time he simply served the soup with garlic toast and fresh ricotta. I think that’s a great idea and it’s what I’d do next time!

 

Fresh Tomato Soup

 

Chilled Tomato Soup with Basil Oil

Makes 8 first-course servings

Soup

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 peeled shallot, roughly chopped
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Add the tomatoes, shallot, and basil and simmer, stirring, just until the tomatoes are warmed through and releasing their juice, about 2 to 3 minutes.   Remove from the heat, transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl of a food processor, and puree until smooth. (Note: I have an old Cuisinart DLC-8F, which was the original “medium” size. I believe it has an 11 cup bowl.  When I started processing the soup, some leaked out the top.  I’d probably divide the soup into two batches next time.)

Pour the puree through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula to get as much of the tomato through the sieve as possible. Discard the solids.

Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.  Allow the soup to cool to room temperature.

Basil Oil

  • 1/3 heaping cup roughly chopped basil leaves (lightly packed)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Combine the basil and olive oil in a blender and puree until smooth. (Or chop the basil in a mini-food processor and gradually add the oil while processing.)

Strain through a sieve, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula to extract as much oil as possible.

Season to taste with salt.

To serve, divide the soup into 8 bowls, then drizzle with the basil oil.

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