Tomato and Basil Consommé

To coincide with Spring day and our Tomato class coming up soon we thought this might get the Spring in your step .

Serves 4

Although not a true consommé it is crystal clear and intensely flavoured. The tomatoes must be slightly over ripe for the tomatoes to release all of their juices to receive maximum yield from them. With the addition of gelatine the consommé can be turned into a jelly to use as the base for terrines. It can also be used as a stock for tomato risotto as it reduces during cooking it will give an intense flavour to the finished dish.

2              kg            Over-ripe, vine ripened or plum tomatoes.

3                              Shallot, sliced

1                              Clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

3                              Sprigs fresh chervil, roughly chopped

3                              Sprigs fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

1                              Small bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped

100          ml            White wine

25            ml            Chardonnay vinegar

Pinch Maldon sea salt

Pinch sugar

80            g              Tomato concasse

20                            Picked leaves baby basil

20                            Picked leaves baby tarragon

24                            Slices black olive

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Core the tomatoes and roughly chop.  Place in a bowl with the sliced shallot, garlic, roughly chopped herbs, white wine, sea salt, sugar and a twist of freshly ground pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and pulse briefly in small batches in a food processor – just to break down and to release the juices from the tomatoes. Refrigerate for 4 hours to allow the flavours to infuse.  Transfer the contents of the bowl into a double-layer of muslin cloth and tie it up as tightly as possible.  Place in a sieve over a large bowl to catch all the juice released from the tomatoes and return to the fridge for 1-2 hours. Press gently from time to time to extract as much liquid as possible.

The tomatoes will have released all their juice and the sediment will have dropped to the bottom of the bowl.  Using a coffee filter paper carefully decant the consommé into a clean bowl taking care not to disturb the sediment on the bottom.  Discard the sediment and tomato pulp.

The consommé can be served either hot or cold.  If serving hot, place the consommé in a saucepan and gently warm over a very low heat.  Lightly season the tomato concasse with salt and freshly ground pepper and spoon into a soup bowl.  Pour over the consommé and garnish with the picked basil and tarragon leaves and slices of olive.