Consommé: round one

From this …

Fragrant, local plum tomatoes cooked low and slow with all the usual suspects.

… to this …

Gently pressed through a fine sieve to extract all of the juice and none of the texture. Then returned to the pot with a herb-filled raft* (I was a bit liberal with the tarragon, truth be told. Lesson learned) to extract all of the color and hopefully none of the flavor.

… to this …

Perfectly clear and delicately flavored.. it just doesn’t look like a tomato soup though, does it?

*The raft is made from beaten egg whites, herbs, in some cases, vegetables, and in the case of a meat or poultry consommé, ground [insert animal part of your choice here]. It is stirred into a cool stock/broth/soup and slowly heated up – this is what clarifies your soup and turns it into a consommé.

There’s a perfectly good scientific explanation for why this works – something about the solid particles in the broth being attracted to the egg proteins as they heat up blah blah (Wikipedia can probably help out if you’re that interested), I prefer to think of it as magic.  You start with an opaque, messy pot of soup and you finish with a brilliant, glistening jewel. It’s got to be magic.

I hadn’t planned on writing about this but it just looked so pretty I couldn’t resist (it’s also why there are so few photos). I don’t usually blog about a dish unless I’ve made it a few times and thoroughly tested my recipe. This is still a “dish-in-development” (sounds poncy, doesn’t it?) so I haven’t written the final recipe yet… maybe more to come, we’ll see.