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I have this idea that maybe along with other ingredients for a savory Thai-inspired soup that I can boil whole tomatoes with it to balance the savory flavor with the earthy citrus that the tomatoes have. But, the tomatoes themselves aren't something that should be eaten with the rest soup because actually biting into a ripe tomato is overwhelming and inconsistent with it.

I haven't gotten much out of experimenting with it so far, so is there a way that I can just cook or boil the tomatoes with the soup so that it adds a the earthy citrus flavor but without being an eaten ingredient? I don't like the idea of canned tomato juice, I usually use fresh ingredients and it tastes more metallic.

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Yes, it’s doable, but you will have to plan for an extra step and possibly few hours of preparation before you can start with your actual recipe:

The haute cuisine approach:

Make a clear tomato soup (sometimes also described as “essence” or “consommé”) and use this as an ingredient in your soup.

There are cooked and raw methods and both rely on separating the tomato (and other ingredients) from the liquid, either by very careful straining through a cloth or by an egg white raft.

Or simplified:

In a similar process, you can simply cook the tomato in the liquid you are going to use for your soup, strain out the solid tomato bits so that just the purée gets into the liquid and continue from there.

Even simpler:

Use a stick blender for the soup base in the previous step.

Note that the consistency and opaqueness will change depending on the method you choose, from thin to thick, from clear to opaque and the same goes for the flavor profile.

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    The recipes I've found so far for "clear tomato soup" or "tomato consummé" are oddly complex for what should essentially be the essence of the tomato itself, it shouldn't be its own soup with white wine or egg whites, it should just be of the tomato itself that forms simply a base at the most. – GaneGoe Sep 1 '18 at 6:55
  • @GaneGoe Then use the technique, skip the extra ingredients - the recipes you find on the Internet are intended as standalone dishes, you will be adding flavor components in your actual dish. – Stephie Sep 1 '18 at 7:15
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    Btw, the egg white in the first is not an ingredient that is eaten, but a “filter” that holds back the solids. – Stephie Sep 1 '18 at 8:27
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    @GaneGoe the recipe has a list of ingredients to the left of the steps. The ingredient "tomato sauce" is a link to the recipe for making the sauce. Also, "oddly complex for what should essentially be the essence of the tomato" - getting the taste out of the food without having noticeable parts of the food itself is an extremely complex task, you shouldn't expect to find simple methods for that. – rumtscho Sep 1 '18 at 10:05
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    @GaneGoe chop ripe tomato, add a pinch or two of salt, wrap in cheesecloth or clean towel, hang over container to catch the clear juice. In my experience, the resulting "essence" has a fairly short shelf life. Use within a day. – moscafj Sep 1 '18 at 11:17
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What might be less effort than making a clear tomato soup is making "tomato water". Basically, you crush up the tomatoes (possibly coring and/or pealing first), put it in a fine cloth bag, and hang it to let the liquid drip into a bowl or other (non-reactive) vessel to catch it.

You could then add this towards the end of the soup-making, so you don't cook off the brighter notes that it gives.

But that being said, you might also want to look into sumac. It's a small red berry that has a citrusy flavor. I tend to see it most frequently ground up in middle eastern cuisine (eg, za'atar blend)

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An alternative approach may be to use a sprig of tomato leaves and remove them. An old question of mine talks about this in more detail, and coincidentally it was discussed in today's Guardian in the context of adding more flavour to tomato sauces.

To me, your description of "earthy citrus" fits the leaves better than the actual tomatoes anyway.

  • That's good to know, I've never heard of anyone using just the tomato leaves themselves. I think they would provide the earthy flavor, but how would they provide the citrus? – GaneGoe Sep 1 '18 at 8:13
  • "Citrus" isn't a literal description anyway so it's hard to say. I assumed you didn't mean simply acidity but the fragrance. – Chris H Sep 1 '18 at 8:37
  • No I meant the actual acidic taste that tomatoes often contribute to, a very bright flavor. – GaneGoe Sep 1 '18 at 9:44

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