5 Ingredients or Fewer

My Grandmother's Tomato Bisque

August 23, 2009
Author Notes

This is how my grandmother always made tomato soup. It's extremely simple, and relies entirely on extremely red, ripe tomatoes - I only make it if I happen to see tomatoes that look particularly ripe and fresh for sale, not the other way around. It's also very important to use a heavy cast iron pan that is well seasoned, and to get the butter as hot as you can without burning it. —The Weary Epicurean

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is half about seeking out the best ingredients possible, and half about an unexpected technique. There are only three ingredients on the list (not counting salt and pepper), which means everything needs to be just right: juicy, red tomatoes and good-quality butter and cream. The Weary Epicurean has a way with words, guiding you colorfully through the unusual method of sautéing blanched, seeded tomatoes with butter in a cast iron pan before madly stirring in the cream. The resulting mixture is rich, chunky and rustic -- a homemade cream of tomato soup that along with some thick toast and a green salad would make a perfect meal for a cool, late summer evening. - A&M —The Editors

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • 3 to 4 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons or 6 heavy cream
In This Recipe
  1. Briefly blanche the tomatoes, but do not remove the skin. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and slice their backs two or three times each with a sharp knife. Season the halves on each side with salt and pepper.
  2. Get the butter sizzling in a cast iron pot, but do not let it brown. Add the tomatoes flesh side down. They are ready to flip when they have sweated a lot of juice, but do not let them burn. It should take about 10 minutes if the heat is correct (medium/low setting).
  3. Flip the tomatoes on their backs and turn the heat up slightly. Continue cooking about five minutes.
  4. Take the pan off the heat, and wait a few seconds for it to cool slightly. Add the cream, and stir like shit with a wooden spoon. You don't want the cream to boil but you want it to come close. After you've gotten everything tasty off the bottom of the pan, you are done - adjust the seasoning, then pour into two bowls.
  5. You may garnish the soup with some thin strips of basil, or not. Definitely leave it chunky - the mealy texture is important. It is good with crusty Italian bread or with poilane bread.
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