Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Tomato Soups

It's the season for all things tomato.  I can literally eat them at every meal.  There are so many ways to devour them. Unfortunately, in the mid-west, they are only with us for a short time - perhaps that is why they are so special.  On August 5, 2011 Mark Bittman published an article titled "Recipes: The Proper Ways to Treat an Heirloom", in the "New York Times Magazine". Included was a recipe for Cold Cream of Tomato and Peach Soup. Doesn't this sound like nirvana? Cream, tomatoes and peaches - oh my...

I belong to a wine club and last Saturday was Mikes and my night to host.  The hosts, for the evening,  serve  the guests a table full of different appetizers. I wanted to include a cold soup, but I wanted to do something different from a gazpacho having never been a fan of uncooked soup. Mark Bittman came to my rescue.  I normally try to do a recipe just how the cook publishes it, but Mark didn't peel or seed his tomatoes or add any salt, so this one has been adapted to suit my taste.

Cold Cream of Tomato and Peach Soup
Serves 6 in 6oz containers or serves 18 as appetizers in 2oz. shot glasses!

At the start...
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 pound peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Tarragon for garnishing

Thanks to my friend Bonnie for a great photograph

  1. Cook onion in butter for 5 minutes.
  2. Add prepared tomatoes and peaches.
  3. Simmer until the tomatoes break up.
  4. Add cream and salt, puree and chill.
  5. Garnish with chopped tarragon.
This soup is delightful hot or cold with a smooth creamy texture and a touch of sweetness that you don't normally find in a tomato soup.

My next soup comes from the catalogs of Williams-Sonoma. They are  one of my favorite places to find a recipe. I don't think I have ever made anything, that they published, that wasn't good. (Can you imagine if the recipes were bad? How would they ever get you to buy a $245.00 Dutch oven to make tomato soup in?) Every summer I make their Summer Tomato Soup, and every summer I swear I'm going to put some up for the winter. I never do and in January I'm so disappointed when I open up my can of Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup to accompany my grilled cheese sandwich. So here is their version, - I wouldn't change a thing.

Summer Tomato Soup
Serves 4

At the beginning...
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth (optional)
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh fines herbs (combination of parsley, chervil, tarragon and chives)
  • Creme fraiche for garnish
In Dutch oven (WS  - "please by ours") over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add onion, fennel and garlic; cook stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add vermouth; cook until evaporated. Add tomatoes and tomato paste; cook, stirring occasionally until tomatoes begin to bread down, 8-10 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (WS - "please by ours"), puree soup, leaving some texture. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in fines herbes just before serving.

Ladle soup into warmed bowls; drizzle with creme fraiche.

I love this soup, and I love the things at Williams-Sonoma. For this recipe my Dutch oven came from Aldi's for $19.95 and my immersion blender from Save your money for their croissants and linens both are to die for.

Life is good - enjoy!

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