1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons snipped cilantro
Croutinis (recipe follows)
Tumble tomatoes onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Slide into a 400-degree oven and roast until tomatoes are soft and splotched black here and there, about 15 minutes. Cool.
Scrape tomatoes and juices into the blender. Add garlic, scallions, red pepper, oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika and ground red pepper. Swirl smooth.
Press through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl. Work a rubber spatula against the sieve to press all the liquid through. Discard seeds and such.
Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill, about 1 hour.
Serve: Pour into small bowls or cups. Garnish with cilantro and croutinis (which, if hot, offer a nice contrast). Enjoy.
Inspired by a recipe from my friend Jennifer, who got it from her friend Jill, who got it from "Tomatoes" by Manisha Gambhir Harkins (Ryland Peters & Small, 2003).
Croutinis Trim crusts from 4 slices of white sandwich bread. Cut bread into small croutons. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 clove garlic, smashed, a pinch of salt and the bread cubes. Crisp, stirring, until golden all over, about 2 minutes. Discard garlic. Scoop out croutons with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at email@example.com.