Tomato (Lycopersicom esculentum, or Solanum lycopersicom) is an edible red fruit originated in South America. It is consumed in variety of ways, either cooked, or eaten raw, as a vegetable, in salads, in juices and in sauces. According to Wikipedia.org, tomatoes contain Lycopene, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Lycopene has been found to prevent prostrate cancer, improve the skin’s ability to protect against harmful UV Rays.
I always have a bias when it comes to tomatoes. I love it when it’s fresh. One early Sunday morning when I visited Carbon Public Market, my attention was glued to the ripe bright red tomatoes displayed along the street. You know it’s freshly picked from the farm because the skin glistens in the morning sun and it is firm when you hold it. I bought a kilo without any hesitation. Aside from it's cheap when you buy at at wet market, who can resist the bright red color that stands out amongst the fresh produce of the day? My mind is playing already what’s the best way to prepare the tomatoes. Pasta!
I haven’t tried making some tomato sauce the consistency of those canned version, so with extra patience and time, I tried my hands at making one. After all, the best pasta for me uses only the freshest tomatoes. I loved that idea!
Here’s how I cleaned and prepared my tomatoes ready for my pasta:
1. Make a cross cut at the bottom base of the tomato, enough to pierce the skin. This will aid later in the actual peeling of tomatoes
2. Boil a liter of water enough to submerge the rest of the tomatoes. Prepare also the ice water bath side by side with the boiling water.
3. Drop the tomato to the boiling water and blanch it quickly for a few seconds. Once you noticed the skin on the “X” mark pulls away or began to peel off, it is time remove from the boiling water and drop it to the water bath to stop the heat from further cooking the tomatoes.
4. After a few minutes, drain the tomatoes from the water bath.
5. With the aid of a knife, start peeling the skin from the “X” mark, being careful not to squeeze the tomatoes.
6. Once the peeling is done, you can start removing the seeds. Divide the tomato into 4 quarters and using the flat rounded handle of the spoon, remove the seeds and excess juices.
Now your tomatoes are ready for cooking! To make a uniform paste, I pureed the quartered tomatoes until liquified. Since tomatoes contain a lot of water, we need to simmer it until most liquid evaporates. The next blogpost is on how I made a sauce for my pasta.
Did you know?
Italians called the fruit pomodoro. It is because the first tomatoes introduced to Europe were yellow and they call it “golden apple” or “pomo d’oro”. It has high water content but low in calories, and it is rich in Vitamins A, B and C.