Coring tomatoes: Chefs tricks

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Coring tomatoes may seem like a very trivial kitchen trick to some, but in the restaurant kitchen it could mean precious dollars, and that means doing it right with as minimal waste as possible. Doing it right, however, only takes a few steps and is actually very simple to accomplish.

Start by picking off any of the left over stem or vine off the top of your tomato. Next, using a sharp and small paring knife or utility knife, hold the end of your knife between your thumb and your index finger and sink the tip of the knife just on the outside of the core of the tomato. Follow the outside of the tomato core all the way around, keeping the tip of the knife in the center of the tomato.

Upon completing the cut, you would have removed a small piece of tomato resembling the shape of a cone, including the hard and flavorless core. This cut is very similar to that of a strawberry, and can be used in the same way.

The key, of course, to making this work is always having a sharp small knife on hand, as this makes the work much more smooth and detailed, and you don’t have to deal with the grief of practically butchering a lovely tomato.

You can either use your cored tomato the way it is by slicing it for salads, sandwiches, and appetizers, or by using this other tried and true method to skin it. Tomatoes are best skinned when they are ripe and ready to eat, as an unripe tomato is very tough to separate from the skin. Tomatoes should be bright red, free of any imperfections and smell strongly of tomato favour.

Skinning a tomato is as simple as carving a small X’ in the bottom of the tomato and throwing it in some boiling water for a few seconds or until the skin on the tomato begins to show signs of peeling away from the flesh. When you have gotten to this stage, throw your fruit (or vegetable, whichever you call a tomato) and “shock” it in some ice cold water. This will stop the tomato from cooking and from getting soggy or mushy.

When it has soaked in the ice cold water for a few minutes, carefully start at the bottom ‘X’ of the tomato and peel back the skin. This trick also works well with other fruits such as peaches and plums. If you cut the tomato into quarters, you can use a small teaspoon to carefully remove any seeds and pulp from the innards of the fruit.

Now, with these few tips you shall have yourself one (or several) carefully dissected tomatoes. They are now ready to be sliced, chopped, diced, baked, roasted, cooked, and added to the dish of your choice.

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