I hated tomatoes almost my entire life! This, however, changed when I visited Scarpetta, an Italian restaurant in NYC. A friend of mine ordered a couple of dishes with tomatoes to prove one thing – that I am missing out because I do not eat tomatoes. Turns out, she was true! My love affair with tomatoes started after that meal. I have also learned a few tips and tricks when it comes to cooking with tomatoes, including those that I will be briefly sharing below.
Use the Right Pan
One of the most important is to be careful with the selection of the pan to be used. Because tomato is acidic, you should use a non-reactive pan. If you cook it in a reactive pan, the tendency is that it will exhibit a bitter or metallic flavor. With this, it will be best if you use stainless steel pans and pots when cooking with tomatoes.
Do Not Add Sugar
To make high-quality tomato-based meals, similar to those that you can order at the best restaurants in Nomad, avoid using sugar when you are cooking tomatoes. Marinara purists will consider this as an act that is sacrilegious! Sugar is added by some people to make the tomato sweeter. However, tomatoes are not supposed to be inherently sweet! Their ripeness and acidity should stand out and not their sweetness.
Peel it Right
Tomatoes are delicate, which is why peeling them can be a tricky task, especially if it is small. With this, when peeling tomatoes, it will be good to plunge it first in a bowl with hot water. Let it sit for a few minutes before you peel them. This way, the skin will come off easily. If there are stuck parts, use a sharp paring knife to peel it off.
Pair it with the Right Ingredients
When it comes to cooking with tomatoes, another thing that you should learn is that you cannot cook it with just any ingredient that you can think of. There are some ingredients that could lengthen the cooking process, especially dry beans. Also, because tomatoes are already acidic, avoid pairing it with other ingredients that are already acidic. Otherwise, the flavor can end up being too strong and unpleasant.
Another trick when using tomatoes in your food is to salt the tomato. This will help to prevent the tomato from being soggy, especially in the case of ripe tomatoes that you will use for baking. Line up the tomatoes on the top of fresh paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and leave it for about ten minutes before using them.
Before cooking the tomatoes, you need to have them peeled. If it is tiny, peeling can be skipped. Nonetheless, for the large heirloom varieties, peeling is necessary. Peeling tomatoes will also be required if they will be used for making a tomato paste, soups, and sauces. The skin can negatively affect the texture of your recipe when they are not removed.
The next time you cook with tomatoes, pay attention to the tips that have been mentioned above and you can easily prepare food like a pro!