By Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, Cesare Casella, Jack Bishop, Tom Lacalamita, Heather Dismore, Martin Yan, Dede Wilson, Joan H. Moravek, Kristin Eddy

This soup is typical of most French seasonal soups. So rich in tomato flavor, it must have been created by a farmer’s wife to take advantage of an overabundance of sun-ripened tomatoes at the end of the summer. Thickened with other vegetables, this soup is the essence of summer.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/evgenyb]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/evgenyb

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

4 cups water

Pepper

2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream

  1. Combine the tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

  3. Either pass the soup through a food mill into another saucepan, or remove and discard the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf and puree in a blender.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the crème fraîche or sour cream before serving.