Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Agony Aunt...

Earlier today we received a letter asking for advice and thought we would share it with you.

"Dear Piccalilly, I have a problem, and would like to know how you would handle it.

My father has spent lots of his time and effort growing Heirloom tomato varieties for me to serve to my friends.

Due to the sunny and warm summer we have had, dad has produced a bumper crop and I have way too many tomatoes to serve and some of them are getting too ripe, I would hate to have to throw them into the bin and waste all dad's hard work. What should I do?


Tomato Obsessed"

Dear Tomato Obsessed, we can absolutely identify, Iain's father too has been growing beautiful tomatoes, and we too, have more than we can use.

Here is how we dealt with the problem only today!: We made a beautiful fresh tomato consomme to serve as a palate cleanser, however you could serve it as a fantastic light, chilled soup or mix it with chilled vodka and Tabasco sauce for a take on the classic "Bloody Mary".

To start, separate your soft and over-ripe tomatoes. The softer and riper they are the better your consomme will be because the sugars and flavours will have fully-developed. If you have any damaged tomatoes, use them too - just cut the damaged bits off.

Place the tomatoes into your food processor, stalks and all. The stalks are the bit that contains the green tomato fragrance so keep them in, you could even add a couple of fresh tomato leaves straight off the bush, for good measure.

Pulse the tomatoes in the processor until you have a chunky mix, if you go too fine, your consomme will be cloudy.

It should look like this.

Stir in some sea salt to taste.

Add best quality sherry vinegar to taste. The vinegar will balance the tomatoes. You will need quite a bit. If you cannot find great sherry vinegar, make a gastrique with 1 part good white wine vinegar and 1 part caster sugar. Simply boil the two together and allow it to cool. Add to to the tomato puree to taste.

Gently ladle the tomato puree into a fine paper filter or a double layer of muslin cloth lining a sieve. Place the sieve over a deep bowl or bucket. The first couple of tablespoons will run through a little bit pink so tip that back in to the top of the mix, then next time it runs through it will be crystal clear.

Allow it to stand in the refrigerator for a few hours, or over night for as much of the clear liquid to run through as possible.

It should look like this. Discard the tomato pulp.

Taste the mix to make sure you have enough salt and vinegar. Serve it chilled with some baby basil!

Well, Tomato Obsessed, we hope this works for you and you enjoy it as much as we did!


  1. Just love tomato consomme. Had a fabulous one at Bistro Bizerca in Capetown in January. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Fantastic tomato consomme and so easy to do. I use a tomato consomme with a tian of light smoked ocean trout, avocado and micro herbs as an entree that captures the taste of summer. Even though summer has almost left us. But sitting here on Cradle Mountain at the moment it is in the high 20s so summer is still hanging on.

  3. I like that...thanks for step-by-step pics!

  4. glad you all enjoyed the recipe! We LOVE this consomme! Like Simon said, "it captures the taste of summer"!