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.
Lilikoʻi is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit. While lilikoʻi can be eaten raw, its naturally high acidity makes it perfect for blending into baked goods, frozen custards, and drinks.