Chef Notes: Tomato Concasse

Chef Notes: Tomato Concasse

We go through a lot of tomatoes around here. I make tomato soup, red sauce for pasta, chili, salsa, bruschetta, pasta salads, potato salad, caprese salad etc, etc., particularly when tomatoes are in season. I have twelve tomato plants in my garden and can’t wait to start harvesting my own. In the meantime, I’m making do with what I can find at farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and the grocery store. 

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While I love sliced, fresh tomatoes I often take the time to concasse them. Sometimes I just don’t want the skins and seeds and you always concasse tomatoes that are headed for the canner. Concasse’ing is easy and pretty quick. If I’m doing a lot of tomatoes or if I’m concasse’ing cherry or grape tomatoes I’ll get Logan involved.  Don’t forget to throw the skins, seeds and excess juice into either your stock bag in the freezer or infuse some vodka. You’ll find that your salsa, bruschetta, and salads are less soupy and many people (like the little ones in your house) are more turned off by the texture of tomatoes than the taste. When you remove the skins and seeds it makes a difference in the texture and you may run into less resistance when you’re begging your four year old to “just take one little bite”.

To concasse tomatoes, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, cut out the stems and cores with a paring knife by cutting out a cone shaped piece from the top of the tomato. Then cut a shallow “X” into the bottom. If you’re concasse’ing grape or cherry tomatoes just cut a little slice from the top and make the “x” on the bottom. Gently drop the tomatoes into the boiling water. After about 30 – 45 seconds for tiny tomatoes or 45 – 60 seconds for larger remove and quickly plunge them into the ice bath. You’ll know they’re ready to pull from the boiling water if the skin around the “X” on the bottom is starting to peel back on it’s own. Be careful not to overcook or the tomatoes will get mushy and will be difficult to handle without crushing. But if you undercook the skins will not peel off easily.

Once the tomatoes have cooled, peel off the skins. I don’t usually bother with seeding the tiny varieties, but to seed the regular sized, cut the tomatoes in half through the middle NOT from top to bottom. This exposes the seeds. Rake them out with your finger or whatever little tool you want to use. Then slice or chop or julienne as desired.

I made a rift on a caprese salad this weekend by slicing the tomatoes, drizzling with good quality extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic vinegar, seasoned with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper, then topped with little mounds of ricotta cheese. To finish I spooned a little bit of sage pesto over the cheese. It was amazing. I also concasse’d a couple pints of grape tomatoes, split them in half and threw them into a pasta salad.

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1 Comment

  1. FRAZIER
    June 28, 18:41 Reply

    It is when they face quality defenses in the playoffs, last 4 years.

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