Blanching Before Peeling: One or two at a time, drop the tomatoes into a 3-quart saucepan of rapidly boiling water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil exactly 10 seconds. Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl of cold water. (Unless you have a caldron of boiling water, blanch no more than one or two at a time or they'll start to cook and will not peel cleanly.)
Peeling: Cut out the stem piece with a small knife, cut a 1/2-inch cross in the skin at the other end, and strip off the peel. (You may want to save the peels for a tomato sauce, since peel intensifies the red color as well as imparting a little flavor.)
Seeding and Juicing: You can cut a peeled tomato in half crosswise and, holding one half, cut side down, gently squeeze out juice and seeds, poking out the remaining seeds from the interstices with your little finger. This is fine for most purposes, like the tomato sauce in Lynne Rossetto Kasper's pasta. If you need fancy decorative arrangements of tomato, however, you'll want to follow the path below.
Fancy Cutting: When you need really neat dice or matchstick-size julienne, quarter the peeled tomato through the stem end and halve the quarters lengthwise into wedges. Lay each wedge flat on your work surface and skillfully slide your knife just under the pulp and seeds to remove them, leaving you with a smooth wedge of flesh which you can then cut any way you wish.
Saucing the Remains: Except for the stem pieces, save all remains for sauce; freeze them if you are not making one at the moment.
IN JULIA'S KITCHEN WITH MASTER CHEFS
by Julia Child
Photographs by Michael McLaughlin
U.S.A. $35.00, Canada $49.00 (Hardcover)
Alfred A. Knopf
(Reprinted with permission.)
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