About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fresh Tomato-Herb Soup

One morning's harvest

It's only mid June and we are, already, experiencing an over-abundance of tomatoes... and these babies aren't even from the garden but from the few plants still going in the greenhouse!
Despite some recent strong opinions to the contrary on one culinary chat site (here: Acceptable uses of home grown tomatoes) I'd rather use my tomatoes by any means while they are fresh and at their peak rather than hang on to them in hopes that I will somehow be able to eat all of them, simply sprinkled with a little sea salt, before they go bad.  A fresh tomato-herb soup is as a good a utilizer as I know.
I usually start by cooking a bunch of tomatoes in a little butter until the juices have reduced by about 1/2.  As a variation I will sometimes first roast the tomatoes until the skins are black  for a deeper color and different flavor to the end product. Once well-reduced, I puree the tomatoes in a food processor and strain out the seeds and skin, pressing well on the pulp to extract every drop possible. 
This goes into a sauce pan and is thinned with milk (goat's milk in this case) to get the flavor concentration I am looking for.  I bring this to a boil and thicken slightly with a blond roux, adjust the seasonings (mostly salt and lots of ground pepper), and add some chopped fresh herbs.  Basil is an obvious choice but chives, thyme  and/or summer savory are all fine additions.
We like our Fresh Tomato-Herb soup served with a few toasted bread croutons tossed in for a contrasting/complementing texture.

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