In one of our trips to Bistro Jeanty, we stumbled across their wonderful tomato soup. If you’re having any thoughts of Campbell’s and grilled cheese, you can forget about that right now. This was wonderfully smooth, creamy, and more than anything tasted like fresh ripe tomatoes. It doesn’t hurt that it also comes baked with a puff pastry top. The Husband has commissioned me to try to replicate the dish, and last night with my garden’s overproduction of tomatoes, I believe I came pretty close with this soup base. The original recipe is from Jamie Oliver with some slight tweaking of my own.*
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
a handful of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
6 tablespoons double cream
3 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 egg yolks
2 1/2lb. super-ripe tomatoes
32 oz chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Put your onion, garlic, carrot and basil stalks into a large pot with a couple of lugs of olive oil. Cover the pan, and simmer gently without colouring for 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Whisk together the cream, vinegar and egg yolks in a small bowl and put to one side. While the veg are simmering, drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove the skins and roughly chop the flesh. Add these to the veg, then pour in the stock and simmer for a further 20 minutes with the lid on. At this point it’s nice to purée the soup using either a food processor, a liquidizer or a hand-held blender, but be careful as it will be hot. Once you’ve puréed the soup, put it back into the pan, bring it back to a simmer, and season very carefully with salt and freshly ground black pepper and remaining herbs.
Just before serving, to enrich the soup and give it a shine and silky texture, whisk in the cream mixture (don’t reboil it after adding the egg yolks or it will scramble) and serve straight away, sprinkled with a few torn-up basil leaves, if you like.
*That bread was all mine, baby! With a sourdough starter, and a whole wheat finish, I was really pleased with how it turned out. Bread Baker’s Apprentice strikes again.