Published July 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.
Throw tomatoes into a blender and puree? Not so fast. For a full-flavored soup, even top-notch tomatoes have to be treated just right.
Tomato soup recipes range from thin, mealy messes to an over-thickened, ketchuplike sludge.
Our ideal cold tomato soup would capture the essence of the fruit in silky-smooth liquid form: light yet satisfying, savory yet sweet, and deeply flavorful yet simple.
In order to get the best of both worlds—fresh yet potent flavor—a hybrid half-raw, half-cooked approach was in order. Oven-roasting some of the fruit intensified their taste, and lent a deep, sweet flavor to the soup once we pureed them with an equal amount of fresh.
Next we focused on rounding out the flavor. Garlic and mild shallot, roasted with the tomatoes for the first few minutes, improved the soup’s flavor, as did a small dose of tomato paste. Smoked paprika and cayenne pepper added even more layers of complexity.
With the flavor profile complete, we turned our attention to the texture. Inspired by homemade mayonnaise, we found that olive oil added gradually to the blender as we pureed the tomatoes took them from a thin liquid to a rich, spoon-coating consistency. The oil also added a satisfying richness, and its fruity, peppery notes were an ideal accent to the savory-sweet tomatoes.list of recipes