1/4 to 1/2tsp.crushed red pepper flakes(1/4 tsp. for mild heat; 1/2 tsp. for medium heat)
2lbs.fresh heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2tsp.kosher salt
1(16-oz.) pkg.silken tofu, drained
1/2cupfresh basil leaves
Cracked black pepper for garnish
Zesty Tomato-Corn Salsa
1cuphalved cherry tomatoes
3/4cupfresh corn kernels (from 1 cob)(sub frozen/thawed or canned corn)
1/4cupchopped basil leaves
3Tbsp.red wine vinegar
2Tbsp.extra-virgin olive oil
Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions; cook 6 to 7 minutes, until soft. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, fennel seeds, and chili flakes; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste turns brick-red and begins to caramelize.
Add tomatoes and salt; stir to combine. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes, until tomatoes start to break down and release their juices.
Carefully transfer tomato mixture to a high power blender. Add silken tofu, 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, and 1/2 cup water. Blend on HIGH speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. With blender running, slowly stream in remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. (Note: If your blender is not large enough to hold the full batch of soup, blend the tomato mixture in two separate batches.)Pour blended soup back into pot and reduce heat to low.
Prepare Zesty Tomato-Corn Salsa by combining cherry tomatoes, corn, and 1/4 cup chopped basil in a medium bowl. Stir in red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Ladle soup into 5 bowls, and spoon salsa overtop. Finish each bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil and cracked black pepper.
To Store. Store soup and salsa separately. Refrigerate leftovers in airtight storage containers for up to 5 days.To Reheat. Rewarm soup in a medium sauce pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until hot. Or, rewarm gently in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds. To Freeze. Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.