Tomato concassé is one of those procedures that I like to use as an example to demonstrate how, with a little care, it is really easy to get high level results.
So, first things first: what is concassé? It is a super fancy term, French, that indicates a procedure usually dedicated to tomatoes, that includes peeling them, remove the seeds, and cut them into little dices.
Concassé is ideal on bruschetta, for a pasta, on salads, or even to add some freshness to fish sauces or even guacamole.
What do you need:
- vine tomatoes
- a pot of hot boiling water
- a bowl big enough to hold all the tomatoes, some cold water and the ice
- a pair of kitchen tongs or a skimmer
- a small knife (the so called paring knife)
Procedure (I assure you that it is a much more complicated procedure to write and read than to do. Try it one and you will see)
- Put the water on the hob to boil
- Remove the leafstalk from the tomatoes and produce a little cross shaped incision on the bottom of the tomato. The incision will be about an inch wide and very very superficial. We just want to score the skin of the tomato, we do not want any water to go inside.
- Let’s prepare the cold bath with water and ice. And now let me tell you secret: if by any chance you are like me and never ever have ice at home, just cold water is ok (and if my teacher hears me saying so, he will make me eat my jacket’s buttons) The purpose of the cold bath is to stop the cooking process, that carries on utill the temperature goes below a certain number, this is why cold water, if there is enough of it, it works ok. Water and ice is better.
- Once the water boils, carefully lower in the tomatoes, one by one using the tongs or the skimmer. How many in one pot, it depends on how much water did you put and how big the pot is. The important thing is that the boiling never stops. Let the tomatoes in 30 seconds, check with a timer a little longer if they are not completely ripe, but do not go over 60 seconds or they’ll cook and you will be making a tomato sauce.
- Once the skin starts to lift a bit from the corner (you might have to check with the tip of the knife) drain the tomatoes into the cold bath.
- Start peeling them using the tip of the knife, I discourage using nails or fingers, it will take you 20 years to do the same job because the sin tends to break.
- Cut the tomatoes in quarters.
- Remove the seeds.
- Cut them into strips and then into little cubes. Save them in a glass or plastic bowl.
This post is also available in: Italian