Chilled Sorrel and Herb Soup with Tomato Cream

This recipe is a version of the summer soups common to nineteenth-century Europe and America. Called green soup or garden soup, they used whatever greens and herbs were in the garden: lettuces, endives, sorrel, herbs (including parsley and lovage), vegetable tops, watercress, etc. Water as the base will give a purer, truer taste of the greens themselves, but a light chicken stock will make it richer. I prefer water.

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato, peeled, diced
  • 4 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup tomato concasse
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup loosely packed sorrel leaves, stemmed
  • ½ cup loosely packed watercress leaves
  • 6 cups loosely packed tender mixed lettuce leaves
  • ½ tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Put the potato and water or chicken stock in a saucepan. Add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes.

While the potato is cooking, make the tomato cream. Put the tomato in a sauté pan and cook over medium heat, stirring all the time, to reduce and evaporate all the liquid in the tomato. Do not let it turn brown or burn. Cook for about 10 minutes and put it through a sieve. Stir in ½ cup of the cream and chill it.

When the potato is cooked, add the sorrel, watercress, lettuce, tarragon, basil, and chervil. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to make sure the leaves cook evenly. Immediately put the pan in an ice-water bath or pour the soup into a bowl sitting in ice water to halt the cooking and retain the freshness of the greens. Stir while it cools. When it is cold, puree the soup, leaving some texture of the leaves. Pour the puree into a bowl. Stir in the remaining cream, season, and chill.

Add a pinch of salt to the tomato cream and whip it to soft peaks.

Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and spoon some of the tomato cream onto each serving.

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