I have been spending some time going through my cookbooks lately. I look for ideas of what to make or I look at the photographs for ideas on styling and props. At least that is how it all starts.
As I find dishes that I have made in the past the memories of those meals start to seep into my thoughts and the whole thing becomes a walk down memory lane. It is like looking at your grandmother’s best cookie recipe and instead of thinking about what you need to do to make them you remember yourself as a child, helping her stir the gooey mixture in the bowl. You remember the anticipation while the fresh baked cookies cooled and the sweet, chewy sensation that you had when you were finally able to try one.
I recently purchased a coobook called Harvest to Heat which I am certain is going to be the source of many magical dinners and memories for me. It is a compilation of recipes from America’s chefs, farmers and artisans that creates an appreciation for the wonderful food that is being produced locally.
This recipe was contributed by Chef Daniel Boulud. The orginal recipe called for hot sauce but I prefer my soups to be milder. The flavours are amazing.
Chilled Tomato Soup with Feta and Olives
Makes 6 servings
3 lb. ripe tomatoes (preferably heirlooms)
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
½ c. thickly sliced leeks (white part only)
¼ c. diced fresh fennel
¼ c. diced celery
1 large red pepper, split and seeded
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Bouquet garni (2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 2 sprigs fresh basil tied together with butcher’s twine)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3 c. chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the fresh tomatoes for 1 minute. Drain well and when cool enough to handle, slip off and discard skins and seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes, put in a bowl with their juices and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, fennel, celery, red peppers, garlic and bouquet garni. Cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes, return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the vegetable-broth mixture from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 to 2 hours.
Remove and discard bouquet garni. In a food processor or blender, puree the soup (in batches) until smooth. Season to taste with celery salt, kosher salt and pepper; cover and chill until ready to serve. The soup will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered for a few days.
To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls or one large serving bowl and garnish with feta, olives, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Original Recipe by Daniel Boulud from Harvest to Heat by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer