Olive oil, pine nuts and basil.
How about a small inverted cake of toasted white rice? Cook the rice, butter a muffin tin, and form cooked rice cakes into the butter tin. Pop the rice cakes out and arrange molded-side up on a lined cookie sheet. Toast in the oven at 400F or so, for about 5-10 minutes. Just enough to get some golden color on the tops. Then center the inverted rice cakes in the soup bowls and pour your tomato soup all around the cake, so it looks like an island of golden rice. Cook the rice with cilantro for some added color and flavor.
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
How about some edible flowers - nasturtiums peppery flavor would be nice. Are you looking for something creamy, like the dairy products you mentioned?
nasturtiums might work, I actually dont want creamy as the soup itself is very creamy, but I need contrast with the bright orange/red of the soup so...
For taste and presentation my favorite is olive oil pureed with herbs--I like basil or chives or scallions or dill best, depending on what direction you want to take the soup in. Or if you want something more tangible, a cheese frico or garlicky whole-grain crouton (or whole mini-grilled cheese sandwich cube). Or, if super low fat vegan is your goal I think a bit of white bean puree would work--it would reference the creme fraiche visually, but you could add more flavor with garlic and herbs (rosemary?).
How about a few small basil, thai basil, or parsley leaves with a nasturtium in the center?
Maybe a swirl of basil oil on top?
A bright herb coulis is a nice contrast for tomato soup. I have made one with cilantro by pureeing about 1 cup of fresh cilantro with a squeeze of lemon and then drizzling in 1/4 cup of olive oil, and seasoning with sea salt to taste if desired. You could also use basil (the more obvious tomato herb pair), or a combination with another herb like Italian parsley. I've also had a chilled tomato soup with chili water that was amazing. Sorry, I guess I should have started by asking if your soup was hot or chilled...
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
How about a fennel flan? Or you could do dill or tarragon, if you prefer. They are all stellar flavors with tomato.
thats actually a really really good idea, dont the flan melt with the heat of the soup though?
You could probably do something like a savory panna cotta using agar agar instead of the flan with similar effect. The agar agar holds up even under some heat. I did it with a savory carrot panna cotta awhile back, and could even heat it for 5 minutes at 350º to warm it. You essentially make a different colored/flavored liquid, and it takes 1 T agar agar flakes per 2 or so cups of liquid.
Savory flans were quite the thing in high end restaurants some time back. I like it. The fennel sounds good. They are often made with cheese, like parmesan or goat but maybe you are avoiding that too? You place the flan in the bowl and serve at once so I don't think melting is an issue. See this presentation:
I like the crouton or parmesan tuille idea too.
Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.
I second hardlikearmour on the flowers, just b/c there are so many in season right now. The chef at my restaurant is using the tiny flowers from the tops of wild garlic to garnish soup. Tastes (and looks) amazing. Just see what you can find at your local farmer's market.
Nasturtiums would also add some nice sweetness and crunch.
What about a Parmesan crisp? Along with a sprig of basil, I think it would look and taste great.
What about a Parmesan crisp? Along with a sprig of basil
GET OUT OF MY HEAD. That was exactly what I thinking.
Um, great minds?
The flan reply and buttermilk pie question really made me want to try buttermilk panna cotta on top of tomato soup. You could make it with agar if you don't want it to melt much (it melts at 85 C, 185 F), and keep it vegetarian. Either that or a 60 C egg yolk.
how about a cheddar crouton gratin, like French onion soup meets tomato soup and grilled cheese.
julienned strips of deep fried potatoes works beautifully. & combines very well with the flavor of the soup., or lightly fry a leaf of sage in butter till it crisps up ( but still green) & add it to the soup.
Lovage. Nothing tastes quite so green, herbal, and, well, different, in the spring. So nice on tomato soup.
Flavored popcorn. Use cheese, herbs and/or spices of your choice.
Fennel is a great flavor with tomato soup. You very thinly cross cut fennel so the natural shape is intact, then braise in olive oil, sambuca, pernod, or some other anise flavored liquor.
Lay the fennel slice on top of the soup and sprinkle with fennel fronds.
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