Tomato Soup with Basil Infused Milk Foam

I’ve been meaning to make this tomato soup again for a while now, it originates from my friend E‘s repertoire. As I was thinking up stuff for another friend’s birthday dinner, this was on the list of “might make”s, and somewhere along the way I was thinking about topping it with basil infused milk foam.

Now that I’ve finally managed to make not only one but two pots of shop bought basil survive on my balcony and it’s growing in abundance, I decided to make this soup with basil infused milk foam for a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch.

I remember having read somewhere that for some reason (that I can’t remember) low-fat milk was better suited for making milk foam. So I chopped some basil on Sunday morning and let it sit in the milk to infuse. My overall success with the milk foam, however, was debatable. Taste-wise it was exactly as I had imagined it, but consistency-wise I met with a few challenges.

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My little milk frother thingy hadn’t needed new batteries for almost ten years. Ten years – what were they made of? Kryptonite? Of course they decided to let me down now, not giving up completely yet, but slowing down the process of frothing milk so much that I started swearing.

The result I was going for was tomato soup topped with milk foam about 2 – 3 cm high. As you can see in the pictures, that didn’t happen. A newer model milk frother is on my shopping list.

If you do have a good milk frother this is really worth making. Almost no effort at all for the basil infused milk foam, and such a great enhancement to the soup. I had only ever had this soup in autumn or winter, but the basil infused milk foam gives it a  summery touch.

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Tomato Soup with Basil Infused Milk Foam

Basil InfusedMilk Foam
200 ml low-fat milk
24 medium-sized basil leaves, chopped

Prepare the infusion about 4 hours before making the tomato soup!

Add the chopped basil to the milk and let sit until required. [I let it sit outside of the fridge so the basil could better develop its aroma.]

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Tomato Soup
1 large can (800 ml) peeled tomatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
olive oil
red wine
freshly ground black pepper
basil (fresh or frozen), chopped
150 ml Crème fraîche

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and red wine*, cook for 10 minutes, then simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add the crème fraîche and basil, stir in well, then purée with a handheld blender or in a food processor.

*[I added 80 ml red wine and felt it was too much. I’d never measured it out before but just added a splash or two, then tasted it to see whether more was needed. I’d say 2 tbsp might be enough as it’s tomato soup and not red wine soup…]

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Before serving, pour the basil infused milk through a fine sieve, catching the milk. Discard the basil leaves. Heat the infused milk but do not let it boil. [My research said it should not be hotter than 40ºC, but I didn’t use a thermometer, just stuck my finger in the milk.] Froth the milk in batches, preferably in a high glass as it’s supposed to turn into more stable froth that way.

Divide soup into small bowls or glasses and top with the basil infused milk foam. Serve straight away with some rustic bread.

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