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Oct 19, 2010 03:33 PM

Tomato question

I have an hierloom tomato I'm going to use as a sauce in a pasta dish. Should I blanch it and remove the skin first? Or will it not make any difference?


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  1. Yes, blanching and removing skins is a good idea. They tend to curl up and become chewy in the sauce when cooked.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Another option is to freeze the tomato whole, then thaw and run it under warm water. The skin will come off easily.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Roasting indeed. In light of the fact it turned out a bit watery, roasting would have been a good idea. I would cut it in half, drizzle some olive oil and add a pinch of salt and then roast at 400 until lightly browned. Perhaps with a bit of onion and some garlic cloves. Can you say soffrito? I am getting some ideas for dinner.


        2. re: greygarious

          I've never heard of this tip before, thank you for sharing.

      1. depends on the sauce you are making. for a rustic meaty sauce, the peel won't be notice able. I find it more a question of aethetics then taste.

        1. I never remove skins from tomatoes when making pasta sauces, and to my knowledge neither I nor anybody who's eaten 'em have been bothered by them. Personally, I only remove skins for coulis-type sauces or for pizza sauce.

          Also, if I were cooking with a fancy tomato like you have, I would probably want to keep pieces of it relatively intact. So no, I would not skin it.

          1. With an heirloom tomato, just slice it, salt it, maybe sprinkle it with fresh basil and olive oil, and serve it raw. Use good canned tomatoes to make the sauce. A fresh, ripe tomato is a thing of beauty that should never be refrigerated or cooked.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Euonymous

              I agree wholeheartedly with euonymous. Some tomatoes are better than others for sauces, as well as eating raw. I'd eat an heirloom raw and save the sauce for other tomatoes.

              1. re: Euonymous

                I like using fresh tomatoes for sauce when I can, but I don't find that using most of the heirloom varieties that are popular these days (i.e., the types you usually find when places advertise heirloom tomatoes - brandywine, cherokee purple, green zebra, etc.) to be that useful for sauces. The type that I'm guessing you're talking about tends to be heavy and have a lot of liquid. Even if you didn't mind wasting an expensive tomato like that on making sauce (and I've tried once or twice before), the results will likely not be good. For this style of tomato, I'd agree with Euonymous -- slice thin and eating with olive oil and a little salt, or something along those lines.

                If you can find paste / canning / sauce tomatoes (and there are certainly heirloom varieties of these; Amish Paste, Mama Leone, etc. etc.) that are fresh and ripe, definitely use them; I would peel and seed them before chopping and making your sauce.

                1. re: will47

                  This is the reason that I won't use the heirloom for this again, it was watery. Fresh and ripe are good qualities for a sauce, but I'll try a different variety next time. One of the problems is the only tomatoes you can get in a store that are even close to ripe are the heirlooms, which is why I decided to try one.


                2. re: Euonymous

                  I agree that if you have one perfectly ripe heirloom tomato, then it's hard to beat keeping it simple as eating raw with salt, pepper, olive oil, , some fresh herbs, maybe. But I grow enough Brandywines to find that variation is also good, and I completely disagree that they are wasted in making a sauce for pasta.

                  It's important not to cook them very long, and do not adulterate them with any canned tomato product (like sauce or paste). I blanch them to get the peel off, and I actually try to preserve most of the moisture within and the seeds, because a lot of flavor is in that gooey stuff inside. I simmer the tomato just enough to reduce some of the moisture, and then I let a parcooked pasta sit in the sauce a while to soak up some more of the moisture.

                  Simple as it is, there is no food I like better than a proper heirloom-tomato-sauced pasta!

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    Agreed there. Nothing like Sugo All'amatriciana made with fresh, vine-ripened, grown in dirt, tomatoes. I think Beefsteaks work well for this too if you can't get heirloom variates.

                    Fresh tomatoes are BPA-free too.

                3. it will be fine with the skin left on