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You say toe-may-toes, I say . . . . .

Tomatoes should be in a good, plentiful supply in the UK right now. Nice summer tomatoes, sun ripened, sweet and delicious. I am sure there will be many people pickling, bottling, making chutney out of them, etc and when they are so readily available and cheap, why not?

These recipes however are for something a little different, something light to serve as an appetiser for a dinner party or as what we call an Amuse Bouche (amusement of the mouth) . . . something to kick the palate into action before the meal. It would also make a great first course for a Sunday brunch, when you are sat outside on one of those lazy summer dayss - a Chilled Tomato Essence or a Consommé with a Tomato Sorbet.

Consommé is actually a classical soup, essentially a strengthened, clarified stock. Here we are taking a little poetic license with the word. It is a consommé in the sense that the soup is clear, an unusual crystal clarity in fact, which given the look of the initial mixture, the look of the final essence will be quite surprising.

For the first recipe (essence) the tomatoes must be sun ripened, with a strong sweet flavour. For the sorbet I will often use tinned, Italian plum tomatoes. They have a great flavour and remove the need for skinning fresh ones but I have included the method for skinning tomatoes and making what we refer to as tomato concassé if you prefer to make it from fresh.

This basic kitchen preparation will come in very handy for many recipes. You can of course stop at stage five once you have peeled the tomatoes and then use them whole for stuffing, slicing for salads, etc - a great technique to use if you are not a fan of tomato skins . . . which interestingly enough the body does not have the capability to break down anyway, they leave us as they went in!

To serve the final dish, I would usually place the consommé in a small ornate bowl, place a quenelle of the sorbet in just before serving and top with a nice sprig of fresh mint or basil. The flavours of both will be very intense so only a small amount should be served

To make quenelles (oval shaped dumplings) use a dessert spoon, dip it into warm water and scoop out the sorbet. With a little practice you will perfect the art and soon have great oval shaped quenelles, of course the larger the spoon the larger the quenelle or if you want to make really dainty ones try using a teaspoon

These are what we call basic preparations and they will no doubt feature or be referred to in future columns.



2 1/2


  • Core and half the tomatoes

  • Blend in a food processor until very finely chopped but not quire pureed

  • Line a large bowl with at least three layers of muslin cloth and pour in the tomatoes

  • Bring up the edges of the cloth and tie off to form a pouch or bundle

  • Hang over a bowl in the chiller overnight to drain

  • The resulting liquid (the essence / consommé) will be crystal clear and rich with the very essence of the tomato's flavour

  • Discard the tomato pulp or use for soup



tomato concassé
red wine vinegar
simple syrup
orange zest


  • Combine all the ingredients and puree in a blender

  • Freeze / process in an ice cream machine

  • Remove and place in the freezer until required


The French word concassé means to chop or crush.


  • Remove the core of the tomato with the tip of a small knife

  • At the other end, lightly score the skin in a cross (score = just break the surface)

  • Plunge the tomatoes into a pot of rapidly boiling water for 10 seconds (this process is called 'blanching')

  • Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of iced water or under cold running water to halt the cooking process (this process is called 'refreshing')

  • The skins should now easily slip or peel off; if the tomatoes are not quite ripe, they may need to be blanched and refreshed again

  • Place the tomatoes on a cutting board with the core side down and cut in half

  • Remove the seeds with a teaspoon and discard

  • Roughly chop the tomatoes to the desired size

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

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