Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tomato and Tarragon Bread Soup (Panade de Tomate à l’ Estragon) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Another summery tomato soup and the third recipe that you should bookmark to make with your bounty of summer tomatoes (here's one and two). I am always attracted to tomato and bread soup recipes, For this Tomato and Tarragon Bread Soup (Panade de Tomate à l’ Estragon) it was the use of the sage and tarragon that drew me in. Two of my favorite herbs that I find I just don't seem to use enough. 

This soup is from The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes From My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulie. I am loving this new cookbook, full of seasonal French vegetarian and vegan recipes. In this peasant-style soup Clotilde (of Chocolate & Zucchini fame), combines the two herbs with farm-fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic and bread. Simple and wonderful for summer. 

Clotilde says, "Panade is the French word for any peasant-style stew or soup maide substantial by the addition of bread (pain and panade share the same root). This one is a rustic preparation of chopped tomatoes cooked in broth with onions and sage. I serve it for dinner in the summer; if there is a slight chill in the night air, it's especially restorative. This recipe can only sing as beautifully as the tomatoes you put in it, so use the tastiest field tomatoes possible, in season and ripe, preferably from the farmers’ market. Bonus points if you can mix and match different varieties. I garnish this soup with fresh tarragon, an herb with long, thin leaves whose subtly aniseed-like notes lift the overall flavor by a few notches."

Tomato and Tarragon Bread Soup (Panade de Tomate à l’ Estragon)
Adapted from The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulie
(Serves 4-6)

Olive oil for cooking
1 small yellow onion (4 1/4 ounces /120 g), finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, 1 minced, 1 halved
10 fresh sage leaves, midveins removed, finely sliced
fine sea salt

2 1/2 lbs / 1 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
10 oz / 280 g stale country or sourdough bread
4 cups / 1 liter Homemade Vegetable Stock
hot sauce
freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup / 10 g fresh tarragon or basil leaves

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, minced garlic, sage, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often to avoid coloring, until the onion has softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, with their juices and seeds, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Cut one-third of the bread into slices about 1/3 inch thick and set aside; you’ll be making croutons with those in a moment. Cut the remaining bread into rough cubes and add them to the pot.

Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the tomatoes and bread are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Add a few dashes of hot sauce, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
Toast the reserved slices of bread and, while still warm, rub both sides with the cut side of the halved garlic clove. Dice into croutons.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with black pepper, top with croutons, and sprinkle with tarragon. Serve immediately.

Notes/Results: A bowl of this soup does make you feel you should be consuming it outdoors around a big wooden table of a farmhouse in the French countryside. It's thick, filling but not heavy and smells like ambrosia cooking away. The contrasts are good--the sweetness of the tomatoes, the slight tangy taste of the locally-baked sourdough, the herby punch of the sage and tarragon and a little warmth from the hot sauce. Texturally, the onion slices get nice and slightly stringy (think French onion soup), and partner with the silky thickness of the broth-soaked bread and the crunch from the toasted croutons. I think I slightly over-breaded my soup--not paying attention to the weigh/proportions in the recipe, but honestly, I didn't mind (no need for a sandwich!). ;-) This one is a keeper.  

It's a typically quiet and sleepy August here in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, but our good friend and regular attendee Janet of The Taste Space is here with a couple of drool-worthy dishes combining salads and "wraps" to share. 

First open-faced Tofu-Avocado Salad (Vegan Egg Salad) with Arepas about which Janet says, "The moist and fluffy arepas with a crispy shell only happen when you make them fresh. We long learned not to make leftovers since they are very lacklustre. They are one of Rob’s specialties, although previously reserved for the weekend when we have more time for food prep. They seem to fit with most any dish, at least in our fusion household. ... The avocado, tahini and Dijon make for a creamy dressing while chunky avocado and tofu are surprisingly reminiscent of eggs. The dill adds a nice spin, too. I used dried but I think fresh would be best."

Next Janet offers up exotic Mango-Curry Chickpea Salad Wraps and says, "...I pounced on these chickpea salad wraps. Sweetened with fresh mango, spiced with ginger and garam masala with a touch of cilantro. Sweet, spicy and tart – a great trio. Mash them up and then wrap it in a lettuce wrap for an easy meal. I was worried I would have needed to add citrus juice, but this wasn’t dry in the slightest. It probably depends on your mango, so your results may vary."

Thanks Janet for joining in! ;-) If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sunday's logo on the side bar for all of the details. 

And a last-minute addition--I missed this fabulous Ottolenghi Roasted Cauliflower & Almond Salad last week from my friend Sue at Couscous & Consciousness and wanted to add it to this week's roundup. Sue says, "Ever one to gild the lilly, I've tricked the original recipe up a little with the addition of some preserved lemon and black olives, as well as a touch of pomegranate molasses.  I also used salted almonds instead of the roasted hazelnuts called for in the original recipe.  I've made it with the hazelnuts too, and even though hazelnuts are frequently my "preferred" nut in so many salads, somehow in this one I think I like the almonds just a little better." Thanks Sue for sharing it! 

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Awww, everyone must be on vacation but me. ;)
    Your soup looks hearty and delicious, though, Deb. Perfect for the summer ripe tomatoes. :)

  2. Deb, that soup looks wonderful and with Janet's salads, I am ready to sit at the table again. Have a wonderful week.

  3. I am definitely in need of some tomato soup before the summer is over! The tarragon sounds like such a nice flavor to add to it!

  4. What a refreshing Summer soup, Deb.

    Thanks for sharing...

  5. Pam Armstrong GreerAugust 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    I never mix tarragon with tomatoes - sounds like I need to!

  6. Not much fresh tarragon around here (central Texas) as it is just too darn HOT! My mother grows it, though, in western Pennsylvania and it does great for her. I've used the dried stuff but it always tastes dusty to me. Maybe I'll try growing it indoors in the air conditioning! Hmmm... This sure sounds good - sort of a French "pappa al pomodoro"! Mmmmm....

  7. When I was growing up, my mother always added tarragon to her tomato salads, so to me nothing says "summer" like this pairing! I hope you like it.

  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Deb, and thank you for spreading the word about my book! ^^

  9. Thanks Clotilde--it is a wonderful soup and I am enjoying all the veggie recipes in the new book. Great job! ;-)

  10. I think the fresh is so much better than the dried so I hope you can grow some or find it or borrow some from mom on your next visit. ;-) It's a wonderful soup--very much like a pappa al pomodoro.

  11. Yes, I vote for the summer tomato and tarragon combo--they balance each other out well. ;-)

  12. Thanks Louise!

  13. Yes! You must make summer tomato soup! ;-)

  14. Thanks Simona! Janet's salads always inspire me too. ;-)

  15. I can always count on you to hang out with me Janet! ;-) I am not sure I am up for making the fresh arepas, but that avocado-tofu salad is calling my name. :-)

  16. OH...this soup looks and sounds fantastic! I have bookmarked this recipe. Love French cuisine!


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