Is there a better time to talk about mastering some of the essential recipes mentioned in Rory O’Connell’s book Master it, than when the summer produce is in full swing…Especially with the abundance of  fresh tomatoes, garlic, zucchini or courgettes and fresh herbs.

There are three essential recipes which focus on tomatoes.  How to peel tomatoes can prove to be invaluable!  Also, mentioned are drying and making sauce.

Tomato fondue is a recipe that I have often made and comes from Darina  Allen, Co-Founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School….recipe below.  But to make this recipe or many other tomato recipes it is essential to learn the basic cooking skill of peeling a tomato.

How to peel a tomato in Rory’s own written words seemed brilliant and well thought out… why recreate the wheel…please read below, go pick or buy some nice ripe tomatoes and give this skill and tomato fondue recipe a whirl!


How to peel a tomato

“Peeling tomatoes will either be easy and enjoyable, or a penance that you may swear never to repeat.  The crucial requirement here are really ripe tomatoes and boiling water.  Underripe tomatoes are not worth eating and are tortuous to peel, hence not worth considering.  Water  that has once boiled is no good to you.  Is must be still boiling when poured over the tomatoes.  When the tomatoes are ripe and the water is boiling, this task is actually quite pleasurable.”

He continues to instruct by saying, “Remove the stalks from the tomatoes and with a small knife make a shallow cross-shaped cut where the stalk was.  This cut encourages the skin to lift off.  Bring enough water to cover the tomatoes to the boil and pour the still boiling water over, to submerge the tomatoes completely.  Count out ten seconds and immediately pour off all of the water.  Refresh the tomatoes in cold water for a few seconds.  Pour off the cold water, then simply peel off the skins.  I discard the skins, adding them to the hen’s bucket.  You can save the strained water for the washing up.”  Rory O’Connell

Looks like Christmas and if frozen can be eaten in December

In the above photo the tomato fondue is ready to simmer!  But first sweat 110g sliced onions with a clove or two of crushed garlic in olive oil. Don’t add tomatoes until onions are completely cooked. Once the onions are soft and translucent add 900g freshly picked, peeled and chopped tomatoes (tin tomatoes are ok) 1 large TBSP fresh herbs (i.e. basil, thyme, parsley…) pinch or so of sugar to lift the flavor of the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 30 minutes or until desired consistency, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  This is a very versatile recipe and is good for dipping, a side for fish or chicken, a sauce for pizza…



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