If there is ever a time to choose fresh tomatoes over canned, summer is it. From June through August, tomatoes are at their sweetest and most vibrant, requiring nothing but a sprinkle of sea salt for absolute perfection.
So many summer recipes include peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes in their lists of ingredients, which can turn into a big time commitment if you don’t have a foolproof system. Follow the steps below to achieve an expert dice every time.
|Score the tomatoes. |
Use a paring knife to cut a small, shallow X in the bottom of a plum (Roma) or globe tomato. This process, known as scoring, will help you remove the skin quickly later.
|Blanch the tomatoes.|
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, plunge the tomatoes in the boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds, depending on ripeness, until the skins are just loosened.
|Shock the tomatoes.|
Use the slotted spoon to transfer the blanched tomatoes to a bowl of ice water. This process is known as shocking, and it will stop the tomatoes from cooking too much.
|Peel off the tomato skins.|
As soon as the tomatoes are cool, remove them from the ice water. Use a paring knife to pull off the skin, starting at the X. The skin should now peel off quickly and easily.
|Halve the tomato.|
To seed globe tomatoes, use a chef’s knife or serrated tomato knife to cut the tomatoes in half through their “equator.” Cut plum (Roma) tomatoes in half lengthwise.
|Squeeze or scoop out the seeds. |
Holding a tomato half over a bowl, use a finger to scoop out the seed sacs and any excess liquid. Alternatively, squeeze the tomato half gently to push out the seeds.
|Cut vertical slices.|
Use a chef’s knife to make a shallow circular cut to remove the tomato cores, if necessary. Place each half cut side down and make a series of slices, 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart.
|Cut the slices into strips. |
Stack 2 or 3 of the tomato slices at a time on their sides. Make a second series of slices, 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart, perpendicular to the first. You will end up with strips.
|Cut the strips into dice. |
Line up the strips and cut crosswise into 1/8 to 1/4 inch dice. Repeat steps 1 through 3 with the remaining tomato halves.