Monday, September 5, 2011

Tomato Soup That's Just Peachy

If you've been very lucky, sometime about this point in the tomato season, you'll have had so many BLTs, tomato/basil/mozzarella salads, and fresh tomato sauces that you'll be ready to move into something new and perhaps a little unexpected. If that should happen while fresh peaches are still in season, so much the better.

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Bittman focused on heirloom tomatoes in one of his EAT columns in The Sunday New York Times Magazine. There were 12 recipes in all, several of which I've tried and loved -- and will probably spotlight here at a later date -- but there's one I've made twice so far this summer, and could easily think about making again: the Cold Cream of Tomato and Peach Soup 

To say this soup is simple to make is no exaggeration. Yes, it requires a little stove time to sautee the onion and simmer the tomatoes and peaches. And it does taste best cold, so you'll need to make it enough in advance to chill it. But as there's no need to peel or seed the tomatoes, the actual preparation time is minimal. Just make sure the tomatoes and peaches are nice and ripe, because you'll want them to be juicy. Do that, and you'll have a soup that's elegant enough for company and easy enough to make just for you.

It may seem odd for a soup with cream in its name, but Bittman lists that ingredient as optional; he's right, the soup really doesn't need it, the tomato and peach taste comes through just great without it. However, I find topping each serving of soup with a healthy dollop of crème fraîche, provided you can get a good one, like the one made by the folks at Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, adds just the right tang.

Cold Cream of Tomato and Peach Soup
Mark Bittman, Sunday New York Times Magazine

1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound peaches, chopped and peeled
1/2 cup cream (optional) (I prefer to use crème fraîche as a garnish, though you could also purée some with the soup.)
Tarragon for garnishing

1. Cook onion in butter for 5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and peaches.
3. Simmer until the tomatoes break up.
4. Add cream (optional but good), purée (in a blender) and chill.
5. Garnish with chopped tarragon.