Tomato Concasse


The French are economical in culinary terminology: Often one word requires a whole phrase in English. So I have used tomato concasse, an anglicized form of the French term tomates concassées, to mean tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded, and chopped. When finishing a sauce with tomatoes, one must use tomato concasse so as not to water down the sauce or fill it with seeds. Grilled tomatoes or ones put in wood or charcoal embers give a particular quality to tomato concasse.

Put ripe tomatoes in boiling water for about 5 seconds. Do not overcook or the tomatoes will turn to mush. Plunge them immediately into a bath of ice and water for 30 seconds. Peel off the skin and discard. Cut across the equator of the tomato only, for if you cut through the stem and down you will seal off some of the seed chambers.

Hold the tomato halves cut-side-down and squeeze out the seeds. Dice the tomatoes and put them in a sieve over a bowl to drain. They are ready to use.