Have you ever gone to a restaurant and wondered how the raw cherry tomatoes lack their normally tough skin, or how their pasta sauces are free of the curled filaments that lodge themselves between your teeth? The answer isn’t about ninja knife skills, or some expensive kitchen gadget. There’s a simple kitchen hack anyone can use to get gorgeous peeled tomatoes at home.
The trick is to lightly blanch the tomatoes before plunging them in ice water to arrest the cooking. The cooking softens the flesh just under the skin enough so that the tomato practically peels itself. There is a very fine line between making a tomato easier to peel and cooking it though, and the amount of time required will depend on a number of factors, including the variety of the tomato, its size and how ripe it is. Thinner skinned, smaller and riper tomatoes all tend to require less time.
Enjoy your skin-free tomatoes in salads, pasta sauces, or just about anything you’d use an unpeeled tomato for.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a separate bowl of ice water.
- Cut very shallow slits in the bottom of the tomato in the shape of a plus sign (+). This is optional, but makes peeling the tomatoes easier. In the photo above, the one on the right is cut too deep(notices the juices oozing out), and the one on the left is just right.
- Drop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into the boiling water for 15-25 seconds. Immediately plunge the blanched tomatoes in ice water to stop the cooking.
- Peel the tomatoes with your hands. If the skin does not peel easily, drop the tomatoes back into the boiling water for a few more seconds. If the surface of the peeled tomato is uneven, or you have a red mush coming off the tomato, reduce the amount of time you blanch them for.