Tomato is usually paired with basil, but tarragon goes beautifully with it, too, as shown in this tomato and tarragon soup recipe. Sourdough bread is ideal for making the croûtes as it really adds to the flavour.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 25-30 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve (optional)
2 large onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes (see note)
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
500ml (18fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
3 tbsp double cream
FOR THE CROUTES
2 slices of sourdough or other good-quality bread
1 tbsp olive oil
100g (4oz) mozzarella, coarsely grated
1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onions and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened and lightly golden brown. Add the garlic and fry for another 15 seconds. Add the tinned and fresh tomatoes, the tomato purée, stock and sugar, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes.
2. Add the tarragon and cream, then season well with salt and pepper and blend until smooth using a hand blender.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium.
4. Toast the slices of bread on one side under the grill. Turn them over, brush the untoasted sides with the olive oil and cover with the mozzarella. Place back under the grill to cook for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Use a small pastry cutter to stamp out rounds to make 12–18 croûtes (see note).
5. Spoon the soup into bowls and top each one with croûtes plus a drizzle of olive oil, if you like, before serving.
Use good-quality tinned tomatoes, as they will greatly enhance the colour of the soup.
Stamping out rounds is a quick way of making croûtes but you could use slices of thin baguette.
If you don’t have time to make croûtes, just top the soup with some grated mozzarella.
The soup can be made up to a day ahead and reheated. The croûtes can be prepared (up until topping with cheese) up to 4 hours ahead and then cooked under the grill to serve.
The soup freezes well without the croûtes.
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