Culinary 101 – Conca-Say What?
Welcome to Texas! We LOVE to garden. What is one of the most popular items in our gardens? Tomatoes! LOTS of tomatoes! They grow very well here, and while most people do salad slicers or a variety of pretty heirloom tomatoes, I do the all-purpose, generic Roma tomato. Why? It’s the best all-around cooking tomato out there. Good flavor profile while having a very high meat to gel and seed ratio. So now you have tomatoes, what do you do with these bad boys? TOMATO SAUCE BABY!
Hold the phone. Gotta start with those tomatoes somewhere right? You throw these little beasties in the pot with all your good and tasty mirepoix and hard worked beef stock, you are gonna have the dreaded and feared seeds and skins to contend with. What do you do? Peel and seed those bad boys! But before you break out those gnarly peelers that will do nothing but destroy your beautiful fruit, you do the old school method of tomato concasse. Sounds complicated right? Could not be further from the truth!
What do you need?
- A large pot to boil water in
- A sharp knife
- A bowl for ice
- A small pot for the seeds and skins
- A cutting board
- Something to remove the tomatoes from the boiling water (fingers are a bad idea)
Simple list huh? Yeah. ‘Cause it’s just not that HARD!!!
- Step 1. Remove the tops of the tomatoes and cut a small cross on the bottom of the tomatoes.
- Step 2. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water, and let go for 30 seconds.
- Step 3. Remove said tomatoes from your boiling water and drop into ice water until cool. (notice the lovely peels just falling away from the fruit?)
- Step 4. Pull the skins from the cross cut mark and set into the small pot.
- Step 5. Cut the fruit in half and scoop the seeds and gel out, into the pot with the skins.
- Step 6. Dice tomatoes to the desired size.
So. What are we doing with the reserved skins and seeds? I don’t believe in wasting anything. There is plenty of lovely flavor and tomatoey goodness in the seeds and skins, so I take some of the boiling water and ladle it into my pot with the seeds and skins and boil it to make a tomato water. Cool the tomato water fully and pour it over your tomato concasse. If you were NOT using the concasse for sauce, you could skip this step.
Now I will keep the concasse in the fridge or freezer until the end of my tomato season so I can have a large enough volume of tomatoes to make a good sauce.
Coming soon… The Mighty Red!