Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Once the kitchen is set up, I begin prep work for the service. Being in Italy, tomatoes obviously play an important role with the cuisine. They make up sauces for pasta, fish, and even bruschetta. Plump with juiciness and bright red in colorful helps liven any dish. Thus, why it is so important for them to be prepped every single day in numerous ways.
I begin with your typical pomodoras, the big ones. We cut these concasse. This French term describes how the tomatoes are peeled, seeded, and chopped. We have to boil them for 30 seconds and then shock them with cold water to make peeling the skins easier. Then we cut out the seeds and dice them into little cubes. One of my favorite dishes we use these for is the red mullet appetizer with a tomato pine nut sauce.
The next kind of tomato I work with is the Roma. These we cut into eights or quarters depending on the size. These are mainly used in pastas but are also perfect for pizza. Similiar to the ones in America, but these have a much deeper red color.
The final tomato I work with is the cherry tomato. We use these as garnish on all of our plates. By boiling them in water for only 20 seconds we peel the skins upward to make a flower shape. Then sprinkle with salt and sugar and roast in the oven for a few minutes. They really are beautiful for such little work.
With the skins and seeds from the pomodoras and also with a few whole tomatoes cut up we blend together and then emulsify through a chinoise to make fresh tomato juice. This is the secret to so many amazing pastas and pizzas. We need this more in the USA!