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Dinner Tonight: Provençal Tomato Soup with Chèvre

I've long been on a search for a spectacular tomato soup recipe that doesn't achieve greatness by adding lots of heavy cream, the most common way to temper the acidity of tomatoes. I already love the variation using bread that I've already written about. But when I was flipping through The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper the other day, the book fell open to this recipe, and lightning struck. Nestled in the Provençal-perfumed broth (think basil, oregano, thyme, and fennel seeds) was a dollop of creamy goat cheese. Brilliant!

Sure, this soup would taste a lot better at the height of summer rather than the dead of winter (you could use fresh tomatoes instead of canned). But I really couldn't wait. Turns out, it's a skillfully flavored soup, with those classic spices plus an inspired addition of ground cinnamon and the herbal punch of dry vermouth. The chevre melts into the broth, adding a calming touch with that pleasant, familiar goat-cheese funk.

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