Summer : tomato water

“It’s phantasmagorical, a profusion of colours, an astonishing palette. Purple, yellow and green peppers, deep-violet aubergines, basil, discreet courgettes and countless white haricot beans… and the queen of this giddy garden dance? The tomato. My kitchen garden is full of organic varieties: green-and-gold striped Green Zebra, deep yellow Ananas, ridged, deep-red Beefsteak, Marmande, Roma, Violette… I like transforming soft matter into solid, and vice versa, like the recipe for tomato water.”

Serves 4:

3 kilos well-ripened tomatoes
10 saffron stigmas
1 g paprika
2 star anise
30 ml Pastis
200 g fennel finely chopped

Skin the tomatoes as follows: using a sharp paring knife, cut a cone around the stem end to remove the core of slightly hard flesh. Cut a small cross on the opposite end, then plunge the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for 12 seconds. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water for 15 seconds. The skin will slip off by itself.

Cut the tomatoes into quarters length-wise, and using the knife, take out the seeds and pulp, keeping only the flesh.

Bring the tomato flesh to a boil with the saffron, paprika, star anise and fennel.

Strain the purée through several layers of cheesecloth to recuperate the fragrant, golden tomato water.