My first class in culinary school was “Soup and Vegetable Cookery”, and one of the many many techniques taught was “tomato concassé”. While this literally translates to “chopped tomato”, it is a rather more involved preparation in which the tomatoes are scored, briefly boiled, chilled in ice water, skinned, seeded, and then chopped. At the time I thought the only way I would ever peel tomatoes would be in canning whole tomatoes. The thought that I would actually do this in a restaurant was laughable.
Flash forward a few years and I am reading the Momofuku Cookbook. Lo and behold there are peeled cherry tomatoes in an interesting variation of a Calabrese salad. And darned if they aren’t just the cutest little spheres of red, yellow, and green. I resolved to use this technique on a menu.
Pictured above is a warm salad of peeled cherry tomatoes, charred green pepper, and cilantro in a lime cumin dressing. It is inspired by some of the salads in Paula Wolfert’s classic Couscous and Other Good Foods from Morocco.