Chef Lauren’s Tomato Tips
When summer hits and everything is tomato all the time, these are some simple tips I use to ensure the best way to prepare your raw tomatoes. If you are using heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, these tips will be perfect for caprese, bruschetta, ceviche, sandwiches, burgers and more…
The trick is to salt the tomatoes to release liquid and let drain.
Tomatoes like to be stored in a cool dry place, not in the fridge. A box where they are not piled or squished is ideal. If they are very ripe you can store in fridge, but not in plastic bags, which trap moisture. Always try to get tomatoes that are organic and in season. Have fun going to the farmers market and picking different tomatoes and finding your favorite.
Heirloom tomatoes are perfect in a caprese salad or sandwiches. Slice them with long cuts with a serrated knife. Here is my favorite tomato knife. found here. Lay paper towels on sheet trays and sprinkle salt on top of the paper towel (here is our favorite salt), lay tomatoes on top of salted paper towel and salt the top of the tomatoes. Lay the next layer of paper towel and let drain for up to 30 minutes. This releases the liquid from the tomato and allows the sandwich and dish remain dry of tomato juice.
For dicing heirloom tomatoes, cut to desired dice, saltand let drain liquid in strainer this is my favorite strainer. This is perfect for ceviche , pico de gallo and bruschetta when you want to remove some of the liquid.
For cherry tomatoes use a chef knife and gather up some plastic container lids. Sandwich the cherry tomatoes in between the lids. Slice your knife through the opening cutting all cherry tomatoes in half. These are the deli lids I am talking about but you probably have something around your house that will work.
Salt the tomatoes and let drain into a strainer with a bowl underneath for up to 30 minutes or over night. Save the juice for a tomato sauce, but remember the salt remains in most of the liquid so that juice is salty.
These tomatoes are now perfect for pasta salad or any fresh salad.
Hope you have so many delicious tomato recipes in your future!
-Cheers Chef Lauren Mahlke