Ok i’m not going to go into the full ins and outs of what this recipe actually is or how it works, but yes, this was a transparent soup. Well, to be precise a consomme, which is a cold style soup that has been suggested to be tried since other popular clear recipes recently – such as the clear taco or the clear crisps. But yes, this is a tomato soup effectively, a flavour packed one in fact, but, it’s a very long winded process indeed including an egg white raft of all things to help separate the soup further into the recipe. Here’s what I did to make it….
First up crack 8 large egg whites into a bowl, and chill in the fridge whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients – trust me it gets a little weird!
Add the plum tomatoes to a food blender, roughly chopping them a bit if you want to help but whizz them up til smooth and pureed, they sort of go a pink colour. Do this with all of the tomatoes until you have a big bowl of pink smoothie looking tomato juice!
In a very large saucepan, ideally with a spout add 1tbsp of olive oil, then add in the garlic, onions and fennel. Cook for ten minutes or so, stirring from time to time or until the ingredients are lightly charred and softened. Pour in the tomato mixture, slowly bring up to a simmer, then let it bubble away for 20-25 minutes to reduce down. Season with salt and pepper whilst it simmers if you wish.
Transfer the mixture through a sieve into a slightly smaller saucepan, ensuring you push through as much juice as you can through the sieve. Leaving effectively a damp lump of onion garlic fennel which is a pretty interesting sight in itself! With the smooth fluid in a new pan, bring it to a simmer gently and skim off the surface any foam that bubbles to the top. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once cooled take the egg whites from the fridge, add in the ice cubes and the herbs (basil, parsley & tarragon) whisk together until the egg whites are foamy, the ice will help drop the temperature even further too. Pour this mixture in with the cooled simmered tomato juice and return to a low heat, steadily bring it up to a gentle simmer, but whisk it once so that the egg whites rise to the surface and create ‘the raft’, this firms up as the water gets hotter and helps make the soup clear by segregating it.
When the pan is simmering look for an area where bubbles are forming in the saucepan, scoop this area out roughly the size of a large spoon or ladle and keep scooping out any lumps / foam / froth that rise to the surface. Continue simmering for 20 minutes, the fluid should start to go clear that you skim off. In all honestly I think I simmered mine even longer which may have helped or not! Carefully scoop out the fluid gradually and pass it through a sieve lined with damp kitchen towel into another bowl. This fluid that remains is your clear soup! You don’t have to chill it if you don’t want to, but it helps and you are supposed to!
Garnish it if you like too with some herbs, tomato chunks or seasoning and have a taste! I actually warmed mine in a microwave, which was even weirder sensation, like a flavour packed warm tomato water! Good luck if you try it, my lens makes it look a bit better than it actually was, for me it was a little more yellow in person but the video made it look clearer so i’ll take that!