Have you ever asked yourself: how can I peel a tomato without making a huge mess? Us too. Peeling a tomato isn’t like peeling carrots or potatoes, it takes a little bit of finesse. This multistep process is actually quite common in Italian cooking. This practice is especially common when making recipes that require pasta sauces or purees.
At this point you might asking: why? For starters, peeling tomatoes — although a lengthy process — allows for better flavour. When removing the skin, this eliminates the potential for a bitter aftertaste in sauces. We all know the best pasta sauces are silky and smooth — you can’t achieve that with bits of tomato skin. Is it absolutely essential to skin tomatoes for a sauce? No, but just in case you’re looking to do it the old-fashioned way, here are a few tips on where to start.
Step One: Make Two Small Cuts to the Tomato
With a paring knife, make two small incisions perpendicular from each other in the tomato. This will allow for the tomatoes to let in heat and moisture when put to boil. The cuts should be no more than a couple centimeters long.
Step Two: Boil Tomatoes + Ice Bath
To a medium pot of boiling water, add the tomatoes. The tomatoes should be boiled for a maximum of 30-40 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a fine mesh ladle and place into a bath of cold ice water for about one minute. This will shock the tomatoes and retain colour and flavour.
Pro Tip: If the tomatoes are boiled or left in the ice bath for too long, they end up retaining too much heat and/or moisture, losing some of the valuable flavour and nutrients.
Step Three: Peel Tomatoes
On a clean cutting board, pat dry with a reusable cloth to remove any excess moisture. With two hands, gently peel off tomato skin.