Essence of tomatoes

Essence of tomatoes

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(5 ratings)

Ready in 40 - 50 mins


Serves 4
Make Raymond Blanc's flavoursome tomato soup up to 1 day ahead, and keep chilled

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal141
  • fat3g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs25g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre7g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 2½ kg cherry vine-ripened tomato, roughly chopped



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • half fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, roughly chopped


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 4 leaves tarragon, roughly chopped



    A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that's a unique mix of sweet…

  • handful basil leaves, roughly chopped



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 5 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce

To serve

  • 4 basil leaves, finely sliced, plus 4 small sprigs



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 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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Comments, questions and tips

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13th Nov, 2016
Uses a lot of tomatoes so great for the home grown glut. This stunningly beautiful and great as a starter for a special meal. I made it for my mothers 70th birthday meal and she loved it. Followed by an elaborate seafood platter of oysters, lobster, crab, langoustine, whelks, winkles, mussels, clams, cockles and shell on prawns. Made pavalova for pudding. Utter heaven
20th Mar, 2013
can the essence be frozen?
27th May, 2012
Totally loved making this took me about an hour though just to cut up the tomatoes but well worth it. The flavour was very intense but if i make it again I would put less fennel maybe a quarter as could taste fennel more than tomato!!
10th Jan, 2011
I was so happy to find this recipe, and scanned the basic instructions, particularly noting, 'Ready in 40 - 50 minutes'. Great...!! I went shopping after inviting guests for dinner that night, then came home to begin preparing. Ah.... marinate for 6 hours..... Something here does not compute. How can it be ready in 40 - 50 mimutes if a marinade takes 6 hours....?? Get real.............!!!!!
24th Sep, 2010
Gorgeous intense tomato flavour. Use the left over vegetable pulp in a pasta sauce.
7th Mar, 2009
Great summer starter only problem is it and cost about £20 just for the tomatoes needed!
1st Apr, 2008
Hi there Have just found this recipe on Royal Horticultural site - The rest of the ingredients appear the same - To 2.5 kg halved cherry tomatoes - So best to buy them on special offer Regards
28th Mar, 2008
How many tomatoes???????? It doesn't say!
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