I’m at Bristol airport having a drink before I board my flight to Rome, Italy. My belly is growling in anticipation of all the pastas, risottos, cold cuts, gelato awaiting us.
In the next day or so, I am going to post about Penne ala Vodka which I make using a tomato concasse. However, I thought I’d share the steps for a concasse seperately.
What is tomato Concasse? It’s when a tomato has been peeled, seeded, and chopped to certain specifications.
How to make a tomato Concasse
- 5 medium sized tomatoes, try selecting of the same ripeness
- Begin by coring the stem
- Score the bottom. This will allow for the skin to loosen and easily peel
- Fill a large pot half-way with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
- Once the water begins to boil, add in the tomatoes and blanch them for about 20 seconds to 1 minute or till they begin to peel
- Remove the ones that have begun to peel and soak them in an ice bath. Allow more blanching time for those tomatoes that haven’t yet begun to peel.
- Soaking in a ice bath will shock the tomatoes helping to release the skin as well as stop them from cooking. It will also make it easy for you to handle them, now that they are not hot.
- Cut each tomato in half at the equator. It’s important to do so, because it ensures you are getting all the seeds out of the membranes. If you slice the tomato the other way around you will not see all the membranes and thus miss some of the seeds. The reason behind removing the skin is because does not lead to a smooth texture. Removing the seeds minimizes the bitterness. In any case, many people choose not to remove the seeds because it’s an extra step. It really doesn’t take that long to remove the seeds, about an extra 2 minutes, if that (based off 6 tomatoes!).
- Spoon out the seeds and then chop the tomatoes to desired specification; small, medium or large chop.
- The tomato remaining is the tomato concasse and the seeds and membranes to the right are discarded.
- The next step is optional. You can keep the tomatoes as they are (concasse) and add to any tomato based sauce or you can puree them(passata) as below. You can refrigerate for a couple of days till ready for use.
Come back soon and I’ll show you how to use this concasse to make Penne Ala Vodka!