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French in a Flash: Cold Tomato and Tarragon Soup

Tarragon is the je ne sais quoi in the background of this cold summer soup. [Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

We, proud Americans, know that peanut butter belongs with jelly. A perfect pair. A dynamic duo. But in France, tomato and tarragon are an incontestable couple.

I have featured the two together before, in an adaptation of the tomato and tarragon chicken I learned in Paris. But summertime screams for the naturally gifted ingredients to strut their stuff raw and unadulterated, and nowhere is that exemplified better than in the kind of Goblin Market of fruits and squashes and herbs that overflow even the most usual of supermarkets. Summer tomatoes, sweet and plump and incomparable in their fleshy delicacy, should throw basil over for a summertime fling. Tarragon is anise-sweet like fennel, fragrant like basil, fresh like parsley or chervil. Like the balance in a tomato, it is unassumingly delicate and unique. You should see them together—and taste them. They're the perfect pair!

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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