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Heirloom Tomato Butter with Tarragon

Heirloom Tomato Butter with Tarragon

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  • 1/2 Pound (1 large or 2 medium) red heirloom tomatoes, seeded
  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 Teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Teaspoons finely chopped tarragon


Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and process until puréed, about 1 minute. Add the butter, salt, and pepper. Process until blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl; this may take 2 or 3 minutes.

Stir in the tarragon. Scrape into a small bowl and cover. Or, make a log of butter by spooning it onto a piece of waxed paper, folding paper over the butter and rolling it gently until you have a sausage shape, then twist the ends to seal. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days. You can also wrap the log in foil and freeze for up to 3 months; thaw it in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving43

Folate equivalent (total)2µg1%

Tomato Tarragon Soup

Published: Jan 14, 2020 · Last Modified: Aug 18, 2020 · by Lana Stuart · As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tomato Tarragon Soup - a richly flavored tomato and tarragon soup with a sour cream garnish. Fantastic served with crusty French bread.

Sometimes cooking is just too much effort, isn't it? Sometimes you're just tired and hungry and you want something good and quick to eat. I do, anyway. And sometimes it's just to darned much effort to drag myself out of the house for dinner.

That's exactly the way I felt when I first thought up this Tomato Tarragon Soup. It was after a weekend food blogging conference when I also had a work trip coming up the next day and I just could not tolerate another 10 minutes in the car to get to the nearest restaurant.

So, I just started pulling out a few things and looking in the fridge for any fresh herbs I might have on hand. I found a package of tarragon I had picked up a few days before but hadn't used. I also had some really lovely San Marzano tomatoes in the pantry.

Tarragon and tomatoes. Tomato Tarragon Soup! Kind of a French twist on tomato soup? I thought - this just might work.

I'm happy to tell you that I was right. This was one of the best tomato soups I've ever had. Rich, bright tomato flavor combined with smooth creamy sour cream and that hit of fresh tarragon just kicks it up to the next level. Try this one - you're really going to love it. Promise.

Petrale sole with tomato butter

There are tiny tomatoes hidden in the back of Maryann Carpenter’s Coastal Organics stand at the Santa Monica farmers market, cases of them. They look like exotic jewelry strewn in cardboard treasure chests. Some of the tomatoes are round, some are grape-shaped and some look like miniature pears. They are every color in the tomato rainbow: red, green, yellow, white, even purple-black.

The one thing they have in common is their size, or lack of it. The biggest is a little smaller than a pingpong ball. The smallest is as tiny as the tip of your little finger.

Each case is labeled with the name of a restaurant together they read like a foodie’s dream dinner calendar: Angeli Caffe, Josie, AOC, La Terza, Water Grill, Hungry Cat, Campanile and Lucques.

And at least on this cloudy day in mid-July, that’s where you’ll have to go to taste one of these miniature treasures. The tomatoes are so much in demand that Carpenter has sold every single one to the chefs who call her days in advance to order them.

On the other side of 2nd Street, fellow tomato queen Barbara Spencer from Windrose Farm in Paso Robles says that as many as half the tomatoes she delivers to her chef clients every week are miniatures.

Tiny tomatoes are one of the hottest trends to hit the produce market in the last couple of years. They’re all over the place: at farmers markets, fancy groceries and even at your local supermarket.

According to a Department of Agriculture research report, sales of small tomatoes have increased more than 300% over the last several years. At the same time, the familiar round regular-sized tomato has taken a nose dive, its market share falling by more than half.

People aren’t buying these little gems just because they’re cute. Most of these tomatoes are actually naturally sweeter than their bigger brothers. This isn’t your imagination: While regular tomatoes have sugar percentages (Brix) of around 4% or 5%, cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes reliably sweeten into the 8% to 9% range, and sometimes even higher.

Because they’re so small, they ripen much more quickly than regular tomatoes, a real boon in cool, cloudy springs like the one this year. Though farmers are still waiting for their big heirlooms to ripen, cherries and grapes are already in full flavor.

Even better, these miniatures last longer after picking than other tomatoes, so they can be picked nearly dead ripe and still be delicious a week later when you get them home from the supermarket.

The benefits of all of this are obvious. Though the tomatoes might be small, their flavors are outsized. Pop one in your mouth (because of the higher ratio of skin to pulp, pop is the appropriate verb here) and there is an explosion of flavor -- sweet and tart and all of those layers of various tomato tastes that tell you summer has arrived.

And just as with heirloom tomatoes, these miniatures have an almost startling array of flavors. Taste an assortment of them and you realize there is no such thing as one single “tomato taste.” Rather, there is a spectrum of flavor notes, running from almost lemony to nearly beefy.

But gobbling them like candy is far from the only way to enjoy these tomatoes. In fact, you can use them in just about any way you’d use a regular tomato, including in cooking.

One of the best ways to eat them and to showcase each variety’s distinctive flavor is raw in a salad. Cut them in half and let them sit with a little salt, some minced garlic, a glug of olive oil and a dash of red wine vinegar. Build from there. Add cucumbers and feta. And how about some slivered black olives?

Or go in a different direction and let those explosive flavors play out against comparatively bland white beans. Capers are good in this salad, particularly if you can find the salt-cured ones. They have a firm texture and an intriguing flavor that is almost flowery. Just soak them for a couple of minutes and rinse off the excess salt before you use them.

Angeli Caffe chef and KCRW radio host Evan Kleiman says she likes the small tomatoes in vegetable sautes, the kind you might use as pasta sauces. “They hold together really well, and except for the super-sweet ones, they have a lot of acidity, which I like.”

In fact, she says, “about the only way I use larger tomatoes at all anymore is if I want to slice them and serve them raw.”

Maybe her favorite way to use the miniatures is in what she calls “intensified tomatoes.” These are tomatoes that she cuts in half, then slowly bakes with olive oil and herbs.

“I started using this as a condiment for fish,” she says, “but then I found it’s one of those things that once you have it you end up using it all different kinds of ways.”

That’s how David Lentz at Hungry Cat prefers them too. “They’re super-sweet that way,” he says. “Just braise them real slow in olive oil and garlic, maybe some rosemary. Cook them just until they burst open.” He serves this with summer beans as an accompaniment to salmon.

“Intensified,” “confited,” “slow-braised,” whatever you want to call them, these rich, meltingly soft tomatoes make a perfect dish for home cooks. They are almost effortless to make and last for at least a week in the refrigerator. Serve them on toast as a bruschetta. Mix them with quickly blanched green beans as a salad. Use them as a sauce for fish or pasta, either in chunks or pureed.

Or, rather than braising the tomatoes for an hour in olive oil, try stirring them briefly with melted butter. The slight amount of heat gently poaches the tomatoes, turning their texture silky but keeping the flavor fresh. Accented with shallots and tarragon rather than garlic and rosemary, think of this as the French version of braised tomatoes.

Pair the intensified olive oil tomatoes with assertive flavors, such as grilled sardines. The suave, buttery tomatoes are better with more subtle dishes, such as sweet seared scallops or broiled wild salmon.

Whether you use olive oil or butter, miniature tomatoes cooked this way retain their original colors, though the quality of it changes somewhat from shiny to burnished. Use them in assortments to get the full range of yellows, oranges, reds and greens.

The tiny tomato revolution began about five years ago. Cherry tomatoes, of course, have been with us always.

But miniatures really caught fire when grape tomatoes hit the scene. Smaller than cherries, and more oblong rather than round, the seeds for these actually were first imported from mainland China. The first grape tomatoes grown in this country began hitting store shelves on the East Coast in 1997.

The introduction was rocky, troubled by -- among other things -- legal tiffs between the original importers and distributors, including a trademark battle over the name “grape tomato.” But by 2001, the explosion in popularity was well underway.

Between 1999 and 2003, the volume of grape and cherry tomatoes sold increased 302%, according to the USDA. More importantly to growers, since these are premium products and they sell at higher prices than standard tomatoes, the value of the miniatures sold increased 429% at the same time.

Because most tiny tomato varieties are relatively new, there is still a lot of work to be done finding the best strains and the best ways to grow them. A tomato called Santa is the original grape and is still an industry mainstay.

But there are others. This year, Coastal Organics’ Carpenter is raising Sungold, a little super-sweet tomato introduced in 1992 and now on its way to being a perennial favorite, as well as several others.

There is Juliet, a red oval tomato slightly bigger than most grapes, then there are green and yellow grapes, white, purple and pink cherries, purple plum, Candy (like a miniature German pineapple tomato) and red-and-yellow striped Tigerella.

The one thing all of these tiny tomatoes have in common -- and the single best tip for selecting them -- is that whatever the variety, the color should be full and glossy.

In fact, one of the biggest hurdles tomato farmers are facing now is teaching crews how to pick the miniatures. Rather than harvesting tomatoes at the slightest sign of a blush the way pickers do with regular tomatoes, they should wait until the colors are fully developed.

This is difficult for home gardeners too because even when they are under-ripe, tiny tomatoes taste so sweet. But to get the best flavor, you still must choose tomatoes with the deepest, richest color. As with all the most precious jewels, brightest is always best.

Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb restaurant in San Francisco is known for adventurous dishes like this one, a meet-up of mild grilled calamari (squid), fresh produce, and exciting seasonings. He grills the calamari over almond wood plus regular charcoal briquets for the home cook, he recommends easy-to-find mesquite hardwood charcoal. To make the dish as fiery as Cosentino likes it, use 2 tbsp. black pepper and 2 tsp. Aleppo pepper, and don’t seed the serrano chile.

This savory-sweet summer salad is a perfect example of the saying, "If it grows together, it goes together."

Lobster Ravioli with Shrimp, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Tarragon Cream Sauce

Butter, 4 tbsp, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints grape tomatoes (20 oz), halved lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 oz lobster ravioli
1 lb medium shrimp
2 tbsp tarragon, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until slightly softened, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Once water is boiling, add ravioli to pot. Cook until they are tender and float to the top, about 4 minutes, then drain.

While ravioli cook, pat shrimp dry with a paper towel. Add to pan with tomatoes. Cook until just barely pink, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add ravioli to pan with shrimp. Gently stir in sour cream, 2 tbsp butter, and half the tarragon (use less to taste, if desired) and combine. Season with salt and pepper. TIP: Add a splash or two of ravioli cooking water if sauce seems too thick.

Divide ravioli mixture between bowls. Garnish with remaining tarragon (to taste) and serve!

45+ Glorious Tomato Recipes for Right Now

The time we’ve been looking forward to all winter is finally here. It’s tomato season! Yes, peak tomato season is in full swing, and that means one thing: It’s your duty to consume as many tomatoes as possible. My cue that it’s time to dive in is when I go to the market and I can smell the table of tomatoes before I even step up to it. And it turns out that the smell is the key to choosing a good ripe tomato (along with choosing tomatoes that are firm and heavy) Then I have a habit of getting caught up in the excitement of summer and loading up my bag with what’s likely far too many tomatoes, only to leave me wondering what to make with fresh tomatoes.

When I was a kid, I savored tomato season, biting into juicy, ripe tomatoes as if they were apples. I took every chance I could get to make tomato sandwiches, and we ate them as a side dish, simply cut into thick slices with a swipe or mayo and sprinkle of salt and pepper. These days, my bucket list of tomato recipes includes tomato salad (my mom’s cucumber and tomato salad and Faith’s version), a fast and fancy weeknight tomato tart with plenty of feta and fresh herbs, and weekly renditions of pasts dinners packed with fresh tomatoes. Ready to make this summer’s tomato season really count? Here are over 45 tomato recipes to eat up the best tomatoes before time runs out.

Lenny Russo’s Recipe for Creamy Heirloom Tomato Soup

Heirloom tomato soup by Chef Lenny Russo from Heartland Restaurant in St. Paul, Minn.

Late-season tomatoes are summer’s last hurrah, a final burst of sunshine and sweetness before we hunker down for the hungry months. “If the weather holds, we’ll be getting heirlooms into the first part of October,” said Lenny Russo, chef-owner of Heartland Restaurant in St. Paul, Minn. This creamy soup, Mr. Russo’s second Slow Food Fast contribution, was designed to make sure not a single one goes to waste.

Robust flavor and a firm, salad-ready texture don’t always coincide in a single tomato. “If you don’t leave certain varieties on the vine long enough, their sugars won’t develop,” Mr. Russo said. “But then, some also turn a bit mealy while their full tomato flavor develops.” So, into the blender they go. “Use whatever you have for this, it’s a forgiving deal,” Mr. Russo said.

Paprika and cayenne provide kick, while tarragon and parsley lend their herbal fragrance. A little butter stirred into the pot and some heavy cream added after blending help to round out the tomatoes’ acidity and ensure a velvety consistency. But make no mistake, that truly-ripe-tomato flavor is the real star of this show.

“Some things can’t be prepared until peak season, and this soup is one of those,” Mr. Russo said. “It celebrates tomatoes right now.” Delicious served warm or cool, it’s a dish that straddles the seasons effortlessly.

Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomato Salad

Chopped red, green, and orange tomatoes are tossed with olive oil and herbs, then served on Parmesan tuiles. The result: a supremely colorful, incredibly easy hors d'oeuvre.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with the butter, flour, and a generous pinch of pepper, and mash the ingredients until a dough forms. Form the dough into a 4-inch log. Cut the log into 12 equal slices and arrange the slices on the baking sheet. Using your fingers, press the slices into 1 1/2-inch rounds.
  2. Bake the tuiles on the lowest rack in the oven for about 7 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the tuiles are golden brown and sizzling. Let the tuiles cool completely, then transfer them to a paper towel&ndashlined plate and blot the excess fat.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes with the chives, tarragon, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the salad over the tuiles and serve right away.


Going to have to make the ratatouille pizza!

Isn't that just the best idea ever?!

Trish @ Well Worn Fork says

This sounds amazing! I'm growing three different tomato plants this year and can't wait to try your smoked grits recipe with them : )
P.S. Third times the charm on posting this comment.

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says

I realllly usually don't like tomatoes, but when they are fresh and delicious, like they are this time of year, I can't resist!

Millie | Add A Little says

Yum! Heirloom tomatoes are so beautiful and super tasty!

sue/the view from great island says

Heirloom tomatoes make summer cooking so much more fun --- love all these recipes, and thanks for including mine!

I love heirloom tomatoes, what a great round up!

Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner says

Tomatoes are my fave I could eat them everyday! The pizza looks great and the polenta

Samantha @FerraroKitchen says

What a gorgeous roundup. I am obsessed with tomatoes and always looking to include them in every meal!! Thanks for including my black bean falafel. I am all over those grits too!

There is a very real possibility I might just make all of these before the summer's end. Brace yourself. (And thanks for including my pasta!!)

January 17, 2015 at 4:05 pm

This is a very difficult website to use. It's a shame because the recipes seem creative and healthy

January 18, 2015 at 10:10 am

Can you be more specific - what's difficult about it? We're always looking from feedback on how to improve.

I can be specific about issues I have with this website (no need to post this comment, just hoping my feedback will help as I love everything on this site but have trouble viewing it!).
When I try to view a page such as this with a series of recipes to flick through the links to each post do not work, it is though once the page is fully loaded there is an error and I can not navigate either with the main picture arrows or the ribbon pictures/arrows underneath the main picture. Sorry I am not sure that will make sense. When you hover the mouse over these links the cursor does change (from a arrow to a hand, indicating that they are links), but when you click nothing happens.

Cheers, and great blog, I really hope you sort this out as it is stopping me from being able to access all your content!

Can you let me know what browser you're using? I'm unable to replicate this issue on my end in Chrome, Safari or Firefox.

I have the same problem as Jeanne. I've tried Firefox and Safari. There is no way to get beyond the first recipe. Only the first recipe loads and the arrows to the other recipes dont work. I have the most up-to-date software.

I think we've resolved the issue - if you're still seeing it, let me know!

I'm having the same issue--initially all the items in the list load on the page. Once it completely loads, I can't click through the list with the arrow on the big picture or the smaller ones. I'm using Firefox.


Cooked it nearly to the letter, but instead of adding the water from the pasta, I sauteed the tomatoes quite a bit. Tomatoes release so much liquid you really don't need to make it watery. Wow was this good and so easy! I think this is a dish you can make to impress people and get some easy propers.

Followed the recipe and I have to say the entire dish is majorly underwhelming. The flavor of this dish is very one note and just doesn't have that spark that a lot of Bon Appetite's recipes do. Maybe more anchovies, garlic and tomatoes would make it better? Who knows as I am certainly not revisiting this one.

An easy, tasty weeknight dinner to make with good ripe tomatoes and pantry basics. Don't be scared by the anchovies--they melt into the sauce and add a nice backing note of savoriness without being at all fishy. If your tomatoes are juicy, you might not need the full half cup of pasta water to help the sauce come together--the anchovy butter did emulsify beautifully with the tomato juices on its own.

Delicious! I used grape and cherry tomatoes, which were so easy but not consistently sized. Near the end, I used a bacon press to move them along to smushy. The flavor was fantastic. Absolutely delightful.

This is one of my favorite tomato sauces. If you don't have fresh tomatoes, a full 28 oz. can of high quality diced tomatoes is a great (and easy) substitute. The sauce will be chunkier, but still smooth and delicious. I also add at least half of a small can of anchovies. (The more, the better, in my taste.) I add a small amount of black pepper, but no extra salt is necessary. For herbs, I use a combination of tarragon and chives, which are excellent together.

This was delicious. Whenever I have fabulous fresh tomatoes it will be my go to pasta sauce.

Delicious. I agree with those who suggested skipping the addition of the pasta water to the sauce as it made the sauce a bit thinner than I would have preferred. Also, you can never go wrong with more anchovies, in my opinion.

Even with my mistakes, it was delicious. I minced the garlic and put it in with the anchovies which meant that the garlic browned, really browned! I had 1 pound of slightly old cherry tomatoes that I dumped in without cutting. And I neglected to put herbs on. The browned garlic was kind of caramelized and so nutty! Iɽ probably add another anchovy next time, as others suggested. And herbs. But still soooo good!

Very easy to cook and very tastefully.

Wonderful, flavorful dish!! I took under consideration other reviews and I added 5 anchovy fillets, 5 minced garlic (large Russian garlic), seeded the tomatoes, added hot sauce, 1/4 cup kalamata olives, 1/4 cup basil and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. I did not used the cooking liquid. Next time I will add the shrimp. For a vegetarian meal, it was very good! I would definitely do this one again

This recipe is so quick, easy and delicious! However, it would greatly benefit from an extra anchovy and some fresh basil. I added Worcestershire Sauce and balsamic vinegar, to deepen the flavour and add some sweetness. I also added a little splash of milk to cut some of the acidity.

I loved it, but it needs more anchovies! I listened to the advice of other reviewers and changed the parsley & Co. for fresh basil and added capers and black olives. Amazing! I would cut down on the cooking water, because it dilutes too much the anchovy flavour. But then again, I love anchovies!

Very good. So easy. Since it is winter, used a combination of canned fire roasted tomatoes and fresh cherry tomatoes and it worked out well. Also upped the anchovies.

This is so silky and rich tasting! I used 5 anchovies and basil. Didn't add the pasta water.

This has become my favorite pasta dish. Not only is it delicious, it's also very easy to make. Excellent stuff!

Made this last night and it was a hit! Made some tweaks that other commenters noted -- upped the anchovy to 3, and I also increased the garlic by a clove. Added shrimp at the end and topped with basil and parm. Quick and simple and delicious.

Remila - the anchovies are out of a can. Enjoy!!

Are the anchovy fillets fresh/raw? Or from a can (cooked)? Sorry to ask such a silly question. Not a good cook, just trying to make good meals. Any inputs and pointers would be appreciated. Thanks.

This is becoming my go-to recipe for fast weeknight spaghetti. It's so easy, and everyone loves it.

This is one of the most delicious recipes ever. And easy. I will make this at least once a month. I made a few changes, because I can't help myself. I used 3 anchovy fillets added a few chopped kalamata olives a small handful of finely chopped parsley and a small spoonful of pesto. Soo good!

So easy, and so delicious. I didn't expect such a satisfying lunch from so little effort. (I must have overlooked the half stick of butter when I underestimated things!) I agree with others, more anchovy is good. I made a mistake and used mixed colors of heirloom tomatoes. Sauce was more brown than bright red as a result. Mind the colors! Nonetheless, what a great great lunch.

Really nice simple dish. I've made this a few times now and like the other reviewers have suggested, I add an extra anchovy filet and I let the tomatoes cook down a little longer. I also cut down on the butter just a bit and the sauce isn't as rich, which is a personal preference. I definitely add the pasta water to coat the noodles with the butter sauce and it's not too watery. Basil is much better than parsley. And finally, I agree that it requires generous salt, even with the anchovies.

I really liked the simplicity and flavors of this dish. Can be made in minutes. I added a dash of hot pepper flakes. Also, I made this twice once with cherry tomatoes and second with camapri size tomaties. The cherry tomatoes released less liquid which yielded a richer sauce. The campari tomatoes watered it down a bit too much. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to cook the water-y version down. Cooked lobster or shrimp would be a nice addition although it's totally delicious plain.

A great dish to make when you have good fresh tomatoes. I put in one extra anchovy fillet which really makes this dish pop with flavor. I also cooked the tomatoes longer than the time specified. I cooked the sauce for 20 minutes which really caused the tomatoes to break down completely leaving that delicious skin behind. But I would highly recommend saving a cup of the cooking liquid from the pasta because the sauce does thicken when you cook it longer. You can add the liquid to the consistency you desire. I also substituted in Brown Rice Spaghetti which went great. Just be careful to cook the brown rice pasta seriously al dente. Nothing worse than overcooked pasta. The only con is that I used as recommended Italian parsley. It did nothing for the dish. But next time I would add chopped fresh basil. I served it with grated parmesan. It was delicious.

I had made this recipe for my husband and son. It was a no brainer to make for the family when they came over for a Sunday Birthday celebration. What is not to love butter, fresh tomato and herbs and those wonderful little anchovy. I do not know what it is about those little fish, they add such a depth of flavor. I highly recommend this simple and delicious recipe and what's not to love about THAT.

Watch the video: Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad (December 2022).