While dicing tomatoes at Spago one evening, Executive Chef Cameron Lewark became transfixed by the ripe-red juice spilling off his cutting board. Couldn’t he find a way to capture this pure essence, he wondered? (It’s these mad-scientist tendencies that make great chefs so loveable.) Lewark experimented by crushing local tomatoes, seasoning them with sea salt and a pinch of sugar, wrapping them in cheesecloth and hanging the concoction above a bowl overnight. In the morning—viola! L’eau tomate (tomato water). He serves the clear liquid, topped with a tantalizing splash of basil oil, as part of an appetizer trio. Try it at home. Consider cheesecloth a sort of net which, when used correctly, helps to collect the simple, clean spirit of the food.