11/04/2011 11:22 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Peel And De-Seed Tomatoes

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to peel and de-seed a tomato for presentation and to impact a dish's flavor.

Video Transcript

I'm Bruce Mattel from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to peel and de-seed a tomato.

Often we de-seed and peel a tomato for the reason of getting some of the acid out of it, and also taking off the peel which can sometimes be a little negative on the palate. So let me show you how to do that.

Here we have a standard tomato; you can also use virtually any tomato you want. First you make sure you have some water on the fire. That water needs to be at least at a simmer, or a little bit of a rolling boil. Then we're going to take a paring knife and take the core out of the top of the tomato, just by putting the tip of the knife inside and going all the way around - and it lifts right out. Then we look at the underside, the smooth part of the tomato. We take the tip of our paring knife and score the skin a little bit in an X pattern, and then I'm going to place the tomato in the water for about ten seconds. This is called blanching, which is brief cooking in order to brighten the color of something, or in this case to peel the skin off it.

Carefully place the tomato in, and I'm going to give it approximately ten seconds or so. Then I'm going to take the tomato out with a slotted spoon, and place it in ice water to cool it off and stop the cooking process. That process we call 'shocking'.

In just a few seconds, it's cool enough to handle. We take our tomato, and again with the paring knife we're using, I'm just going to look where I'd scored it in that X pattern, and start pulling the skin right off.

See how easily the skin comes off now - and the beautiful thing is, if this is done correctly, you don't cook the tomato underneath, and it stays intact and it doesn't get mushy. If you leave it too long in the boiling water, it can get a little bit mushy and be harder to work with. Peel off the skin just like this -- look how nice that looks.

Then what we're going to do is cut the tomato right in half, crosswise. Now what I've done is expose all the seeds in the cavity. I'll squeeze the halves of the tomato gently, and at the same time I'll use the other end of a teaspoon to help take out the seeds.

When you peel and de-seed a tomato, it shows your guests you just put a little more effort into your preparation, and it takes the dish up a notch.