I was thinking about starting this post apologizing for having almost abandoned you in the past couple months. I wanted to explain to you why I have been missing and tell you that I'm going to be better at writing in spoonglish from now on. But I'm not going to do that. Whatever, right? It's not like you care that much.
Instead, I'm just going to write about this AMAZING tomato soup. It's from the book Essentials of French Cooking, from Williams-Sonoma. The pictures of this book are so mouthwatering that you want to make everything that is in it. However, when you start making the recipes, the pictures are only there to tell you that your version doesn't look nearly as good. But who cares about looks, right? Beauty is inside, and in this case, inside a soup bowl with a puff pastry cover.
My favorite thing about this recipe is the flavor added by the fresh thyme. It makes it different from most tomato soups and so delicious. I also love the idea of the puff pastry on top. It makes it look like a mushroom and then it's so good to eat it breaking the pastry into the soup and eating it all together.
What I did not find so compelling was the 4 cups of heavy cream that the recipe calls for. Four cups! That's when the eternal question comes again: why aren't french people fat? I decided to make this soup be on a diet and halve the amount of cream, because I prefer to have more tomato flavor and less regret.
Although this might seem like a pretty wintery dish, now is when tomatoes are at their best, so now it's when you want to make this. Here is the adapted recipe:
Tomato soup with puff pastry
Serves 4-6. Adapted from Essentials of French Cooking, Williams-Sonoma
2 lb (1 kg) ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter
1 small or 1/2 big yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons of minced fresh thyme
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 large egg beaten with 2 tbsp water
Bring a big saucepan of water to a boil. Score an X on to bottom of each tomato and add them to the boiling water. After 30 seconds take the tomatoes out of the water using a slotted spoon. Peel and quarter the tomatoes.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
Working in batches in a blender, or using an immersion blender, puree the tomato mixture until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and return to pan. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remover from heat.
Preheat the oven at 400°F (200°C). Roll out the puff pastry until 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick and cut rounds that are slightly larger than the diameter of an ovenproof bowl. Place the soup bowls on a baking sheet and ladle the soup into the bowls. Place the pastry rounds on top of each bowl and pull the edges tight. Brush the pastry with the egg wash. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.