David and I spent the end of December skiing in Colorado (It was my first time!), which gave us a great excuse to eat a lot of delicious food…we needed fuel to face the mountain! I wasn’t expecting much when David ordered a seemingly simple tomato soup from an Italian restaurant, but the soup turned out to pack a flavorful punch. It was topped with a drizzle of lemon oil! I really enjoy using flavored oils, but I never would have thought to combine tomato and lemon on my own. It turned out to be an intriguing match, and I had to try it at home.
I made a lemon infused oil, but it doesn’t pack the same lemony punch as the oil from the restaurant. It adds an extra dimension of flavor, but it is much more subtle. It is possible that the restaurant used a lemon essential oil, and I’m planning to test that out soon. Until then, this lemon oil is sufficient. To make it, use a grater or vegetable peeler to zest a lemon (try to avoid the bitter white pith).
To a small pot, add about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. I don’t recommend using olive oil here because it is too strongly flavored and competes with the lemon. A neutral oil is best. Drop in the lemon zest, and heat the oil over low until small bubbles begin to form around the zest. Continue heating the oil for about 15 minutes, controlling the heat so that the lemon zest never browns. If it browns, the oil will taste burnt.
Remove the pot from the heat, and let the oil and zest cool to room temperature- the lemony flavor will continue to infuse. Once the oil is cool, strain out all of the lemon zest. While you make the lemon oil, simmer up some tomato soup.
Transfer the tomato soup into a bowl, and drizzle some of the lemon oil over the top. Serve the soup with grilled bread. Would you ever think to pair tomato and lemon together? How do you like the combination? Any suggestions for a strongly flavored lemon oil?
- Vegetable Oil
- Tomato soup