Last week, I stopped into Chef Jean Adamson’s new take-away lunch spot in DUMBO, VHH Foods, and she served me a soup that hijacked my brain. Sitting down with Jean, she lamented the popularity of her saffron tomato soup; something this straightforward is hardly an opportunity for a seasoned chef to flex. But sometimes it’s the right combo of familiar with a twist that captures an audience’s attention. This soup is certainly a healthy taste of the greener pastures (i.e. tomato season), just what I need on the tails of what appears to be an endless winter.
I went home and made my own version of the soup that had been burned into my brain. The saffron adds just the right note of intrigue to an otherwise straightforward classic. If it is winter, I recommend using frozen roasted tomatoes over canned, but if you don’t have them, then use the highest quality canned San Marzano tomatoes you can find. If you have time, you can buy organic cherry tomatoes and roast them at 300° with some olive oil for an hour until they are gushy and sweet. If it’s tomato season, add fresh tomatoes to the pot, and just cook the soup a little longer for the flavors to develop.
Time: 20 minutes
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 pinches saffron
- 1 aleppo dried chile
- 2 cups frozen tomatoes
- 3 cups broth (homemade please!)
Add saffron and crushed aleppo pepper to a small bowl, pour warm water over top and set aside.
In a medium stock pot, sauté shallots with olive oil and salt for 3-5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and continue to sauté over medium heat for for another 2 minutes.
Add saffron and chile liquid, tomatoes and broth to the pot, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Return to the pot, and simmer for another five minutes.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with croutons.