Tag: tomato soup

Saffron & Mussel Tomato Soup

Saffron & Mussel Tomato Soup

It’s getting colder here in Berlin, all of the trees in front of our windows are finally naked, their last colourful leaves swept away in a single stormy night. Before the winds came, the light in our living room was golden and warm, filtered through autumn’s pretty yellow linden leaves. Now that they’re gone, the light is much harder. All of a sudden, the city seems a bit more harsh, which made me long for a cozy soup.

Seafood has been on my mind for weeks, sweet mussels from the North Sea, adding their fine taste to a thick, fruity tomato soup refined with aromatic saffron. It warms the body and caresses the soul, what else could you want on a cold and misty November day? This dish may seem elaborate but that’s not at all the case, it’s a quick one. The fruit’s red juices only cook for a bit longer than 10 minutes and the mussels sink into a fragrant broth of white wine and spices for just 5 minutes. I use the wine, infused with a soft hint of the sea and the noble taste of saffron, to stir into my glowing soup. It’s supposed to serve 3-4, which I still believe is quite realistic, but we loved it so much that we almost emptied the large pot of soup in one go at lunchtime. We were hungry.

Saffron & Mussel Tomato Soup

 

Saffron & Mussel Tomato Soup

Saffron and Mussel Tomato Soup

Serves 3-4

For the mussels

mussels in shells  1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds
olive oil
medium sized onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, thinly sliced, 2 large cloves
white wine 200ml / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
bay leaves 2
saffron threads 1/8 teaspoon / 1g
sea salt 1/2 teaspoon
ground pepper

For the tomato soup

olive oil
tomatoes, finely chopped, 1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds
garlic, thinly sliced, 1 big clove
broth, used to cook the mussels, 400ml / 1 2/3 cups
a pinch of sugar
sea salt
ground pepper

For the topping

fresh parsley, roughly chopped, 4 heaped teaspoons

Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold water and cut off the beard, discard any broken mussels.

For the mussels, heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot and cook the onion and garlic on medium heat for a few minutes or until golden and soft. Add the wine, bay leaves, saffron, salt and pepper, stir and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low, gently add the mussels to the pot, shake the pot or stir with a slotted ladle and close with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes or until the shells open, shake the pot once or twice while cooking. Take the mussels out with a slotted ladle, discard any mussels that don’t open. Measure 400ml of the mussel broth, together with the onions and the bay leaves, and set aside. Peel the mussels out of their shells, leave about 6-8 inside the shells for the topping of the soup (optional). Set the mussels aside.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot, add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 4 minutes on medium-high heat (open), stir once in a while. Add the mussel broth with the onions and bay leaves, sugar, salt and pepper and cook for about 7 minutes (open) or until the tomatoes are soft and the soup is thick. Season to taste and, if necessary, chop the tomatoes with a knife if they are too chunky, or purée the soup in a food processor. Stir in the mussel meat, divide the soup between bowls, sprinkle with fresh parsley and pepper and garnish with the mussels in their shells.

Saffron & Mussel Tomato Soup

 

Saffron & Mussel Tomato Soup

 

saffronmusseltomatosoup6

 

Saffron & Mussel Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Nocken

Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese

A few weeks ago I received one of my mother’s recipe faxes again. The list of her culinary adventures and recommendations was long (as always) and included Tyrolean Nocken made of goat cream cheese mixed with finely chopped hard mountain cheese. Nocken are dumplings, they can be made of potatoes like Italian gnocchi, bread or flour but there is also an uncooked version in which case they are made of cream cheese or ricotta. I’ve made these a couple times but never mixed with hard cheese. This sounded interesting, especially because I’ve been wanting to make tomato soup for weeks which seemed like the perfect combination to me. The fruity soup, thick and sweet, refined with some strong goat milk and cheese flavours!

I slipped in some herbs as well, fresh basil for the tomatoes after the soup was done and chives for the Nocken. The soup is a strong concentrate of 2 pounds of tomatoes, chopped and cooked with skin and seeds for just 10 minutes. Some garlic rubbed with salt to a smooth paste, a tiny bit of broth, some vinegar and the basil, that’s all it needed. Apart from the Nocken, which I scooped with a wet spoon, to place a white dot in the middle of a glowing red bowl!

I served the tomato soup warm, some prefer it cold but that’s not really my thing.

Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese

 Tomato Soup with Basil and Goat Cheese Nocken

For 2 people as  a main or 4 as a starter you need

ripe tomatoes, chopped, 1 kg / 2 pounds
broth 125ml / 5 ounces
garlic 2 big cloves
Balsamico vinegar 1 tablespoon plus more to taste
a pinch of sugar
fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, a small handful
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

For the Nocken
fresh goat cream cheese 125g / 4.5 ounces
hard mountain cheese (like Appenzeller or Gruyère), finely chopped, 20g / 1 ounce
chives, snipped, 1-2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Rub the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of salt under a big knife to a smooth paste.

In a big pot, heat a splash of olive oil, add the garlic paste and tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes on medium temperature (open). Add the broth, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes (open). Take off the heat and purée with a stick mixer or in a blender. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar to taste and stir in the basil.

Mix the goat cream cheese, hard mountain cheese and chives, season with salt and pepper to taste. With a wet tablespoon form oval Nocken and place on top of the soup. Serve immediately.

Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese

 

Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese