Cold Tomato and Tarragon Soup

Cold Tomato and Tarragon Soup Licorice is one of those flavors that I strongly disliked growing up.  I would always steer away from the black licorice bites in the candy dish and grimace in disgust when I got an unexpected mouthful of anise from an Italian Christmas cookie.  Over the past year, my tastes must be changing, because I have been all about licorice flavored ingredients.  Whether I am spicing my cookies with star anise, caramelizing fresh strips of fennel or sautéing up some chicken breasts with tarragon, I just can’t seem to get enough!  This Cold Tomato and Tarragon Soup is no exception.  The pairing of tomato and tarragon is wonderfully refreshing and the onion and garlic give the soup a flavorful kick.  Continue reading for this “no cook” recipe.

Tarragon Cold Tomato and Tarragon Soup
Adapted from Serious Eats.

2 ½ pounds vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
1 sweet onion, in chunks
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, plus more for garnish
2 cups tomato juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup baguette crumbs*
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese, for topping

Cold Tomato and Tarragon Soup

In a large blender, add the tomatoes, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, tarragon leaves, tomato juice, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and sugar**.  Blend until smooth.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Add the breadcrumbs to the blender and pulse a couple of times to incorporate (don’t blend the crumbs too much – they are there for texture).

Transfer soup to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate.  To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and top with crumbled goat cheese, whole tarragon leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Makes 6 servings.

* You can make baguette crumbs by pulsing some crusty pieces of baguette in a food processor.  If you want to use store bought bread crumbs instead, I would recommend getting crumbs that are coarse and unseasoned.

** I tried making this recipe in my standard blender and the volume was too much.  I had to blend the ingredients in two batches and transfer to a large bowl to season.



  1. says

    Hi Brandon. The soup looks delicious. Tomato soup is one of my favourites. I must try the addition of tarragon next time. The pictures on your blog are just mouth watering. I’m feeling slightly envious. I wish I have the camera and skill to do the same on my blog.
    Thanks for the add at foodbuzz. I look forward to reading more posts.
    Have a great one. Michael

    PS. Me too, love food and cocktails.

  2. says

    The taste of licorice has always turned me off too, so I generally have stayed away from cooking with tarragon. But this recipe, is making me seriously reconsider! Your photography is great too, I’ll definitely be checking back!

  3. Brandon Matzek says

    @elizabeth I am originally from New Jersey and I do miss those roadside tomato stands! I just love the smell of ripe tomatoes.

    @Michael Toa Thank you for the kind words.

    @Laura Definitely give it a try! The licorice taste is not overpowering.

  4. says

    I’m not a big fan of licorice-type flavours either – aniseed is such a turn-off. But I don’t mind tarragon, it’s rather nice on occasion. And this soup looks delicious. I’d definitely give it a try. Maybe I can train myself to appreciate the aniseed flavour a little more…?

    Your blog is so very beautiful – I absolutely adore your photography. Very glad to have found you! I shall be back.

    Jax x

  5. says

    Amazing photos and great blog!
    You know I was one of those “weird” kids that liked licorice. All the other kids would give me their licorice, jellybeans and all the other “old man” candy on halloween. So as I started to learn to cook I was really intrigued by basil and fennel and the like.

    One day I was pondering my interest in these flavors and it triggered a chain of thought…What makes someone not like these things. What is it about turnips that I don’t like. I realized that most of my foods I didn’t like as an adult were based on notions that I had about these foods as a child. Some of it may have been stubbornness and some of it may have been that I never really “discovered” them.

    So last year I made mashed turnips with carrots and maple for Thanksgiving. I was intent on likeing them. As I was cooking them I tasted one. I let it sit on my palate to really take in all of the subtle flavors and I realized. They really aren’t that bad. I just hadn’t given them a chance as an adult.

  6. Brandon Matzek says

    @Jackie Tarragon seems to be a good introduction into the world of licorice flavored ingredients. The taste is subtle, fresh and herby. Much different than the harsh/sweet flavor of black licorice candies.

    @Matt Great observation! I totally agree. I think people should just be open to trying new things. The taste of an ingredient really depends on how its prepared. I’ve had several friends who were brussel sprout haters. After having my version of brussel sprouts (sauteed til golden brown and topped with parmesan, salt and pepper), they love them!

  7. says

    Great photographs, Brandon. I’d like to give this a go because I’m like you used to be – a bit wary of tarragon. I find it a bit overpowering but I haven’t tried it for ages AND I love cold tomato soup. Maybe I can start to train my taste buds!

  8. says

    The tomatoes are beautiful, as well as your pictures. I made cold soup a long time ago, and was teased a lot by my friend’s husband. Then for his birthday one year, I made the gazpacho, wrapped it up, and gave it to him for his birthday.

    A stick blender works very well for this soup, and then you don’t have to mess with a regular blender.

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