Surprise Ingredient: Vanilla in Tomato Soup

We recently attended a dinner party at the home of Abby from AT: Los Angeles. From the vegetable terrine to the crème brûlée, everything was beautifully presented and delicious. But it was the starter that really made an impression on us. While we were sipping the tomato soup, Abby revealed that it contained a secret ingredient... Vanilla! It wasn't an intentional secret ingredient; actually, it was more of happy accident. In the middle of cooking, Abby reached for the sugar and realized that she only had vanilla bean-infused sugar on hand. And guess what? It totally worked. The vanilla was not overpowering (she didn't use a lot of sugar, just enough to add a little extra sweetness) but it was subtly aromatic and helped balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

Searching online, we found scant references to vanilla in tomato soup. Have any of you used vanilla – sugar, bean, or extract – in tomato soup?

Related: Blogging Cook's Illustrated: Creamy Creamless Tomato Soup

(Images: Flickr member romanlily licensed under Creative Commons, Flickr member clada74 licensed under Creative Commons)

4 Comments