Essence of tomatoes

Make Raymond Blanc’s flavoursome tomato soup up to 1 day ahead, and keep chilled

  • Ready in 40 - 50 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 141
  • fat 3g
  • saturates 0g
  • carbs 25g
  • sugars 4g
  • fibre 7g
  • protein 6g
  • salt 0.3g


  • 2½ kg cherry vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • half fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, roughly chopped
  • 4 leaves tarragon, roughly chopped
  • handful basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 5 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 4 basil leaves, finely sliced, plus 4 small sprigs
  • 6 large plum vine tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely diced
  • good-quality extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together with 1 tbsp sea salt, cover with cling film and marinate for 6 hrs. Then, in a food processor, pulse the tomato mix in batches until roughly chopped – don’t over-chop them to a mush.

  2. Place three layers of muslin cloth, or a new kitchen cloth, over a large bowl and pour the mix into the cloth. Tie up with string and hang in a cold place for at least 15 mins over the bowl to collect the tomato essence. Set aside the pulp. Taste and correct the seasoning, if necessary, then cool in the fridge.

  3. To serve, spoon a quarter of the diced tomato into the centre of four bowls. Carefully pour the chilled tomato essence around the tomato towers and garnish with the basil and a small drizzling of olive oil.

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