Once again, Thomas Keller offers up a superb recipe. Tomato Consomme seems more complicated than it truly is, but produces extraordinary results.

Tomato Consomme

Tomato Consomme
Recipe type: Soups and Stews
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 18 ripe Early Girl tomatoes (to 24); about 6 pounds (or best available tomatoes)
  • 1 dried chipotle chile
  • 6 red cherry tomatoes; see * Note
  • 6 yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 6 green cherry tomatoes (if available. If not, use more red tomatoes.)
  • salt, to taste
  1. * Note: Use cherry tomatoes such as Sweet 100s, Golden Jubilee and Green Grape or substitute 18 of the best available cherry or pear tomatoes.
  2. Soak dried chipotle in hot water for 30 minutes; drain. Core and halve tomatoes. Place the halved tomatoes in a food processor with the chipotle and pulse until the tomatoes are finely pureed.
  3. Line a bowl with a clean, damp cotton dish towel or a triple layer of cheesecloth. Pour the pureed tomatoes and chile into the towel. Bring up the edges of the towel around the tomatoes and tie with a piece of string to form a pouch. Discard the liquid in the bowl, which will have more sediment.
  4. Hang the bag of tomatoes from a rack in the refrigerator or place in a colander suspended over the bowl. Let drain overnight.
  5. The next day, there should be about 2 Cups of tomato water or consomme.
  6. Strain it through a cheesecloth into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes, and skim any solids that rise to the top. Strain again. When cool, strain through a coffee filter.
  7. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  8. Blanch the cherry tomatoes in lightly salted water for a few seconds to loosen the skins. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and plunge them into an ice bath to cool. Remove the tomatoes and peel them with a small paring knife. These can be held at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
  9. Season the consomme to taste. Place three cherry tomatoes in a soup cup and pour the consomme over. Alternately, the consomme can be used as a cooking liquid, a sauce or an aspic.
  10. This recipe yields 6 servings.
Each serving: 48 calories; 413 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 0 saturated fat; 11 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 2.48 grams fiber.

NOTES : Thomas Keller is chef at the French Laundry in the Napa Valley and Michael Ruhlman is the author of "Wooden Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard" (Viking, $24.95). They are co-authors of "The French Laundry Cookbook" (Artisan, $50).

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