You know how ski resorts grade their runs, beginner (green circle), intermediate (blue square), advanced (black diamond), and expert (double black diamond)?
To me, tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes, are a double-black diamond foodstuff. Think about it. You put a little smooth round thing, almost tasteless, in your mouth and bite down. KAPOW! An explosion of at least four textures and tastes: the smooth tough skin, the slightly-crunchy pulp, the jelly surrounding the seeds, and then the seeds themselves.
What if you want to try out how a tomato tastes without all the fireworks? There's something for that: tomato water.
Tomato water (prep time: 12 hours)
- A blender or food processor (whirling device)
- A colander or strainer
- Two layers of cheesecloth to line the straining device
- A bowl to catch the liquid that drains from the tomatoes
- 2 pounds dead-ripe tomatoes, washed (and cored if necessary)
- pinch salt
- Coarsely chop the tomatoes, preserving the juice (I use a flexible chopping board)
- Put the chopped tomatoes, juice, and salt in the whirling device, and purée until smooth and uniform. The time will depend upon the capabilities of your device.
- Position the cheesecloth-lined colander over the bowl.
- Pour the purée into the straining device and put into the refrigerator to drain for 12 hours (overnight works well)
- In the morning, the bowl will contain a clear, tomato-tasting liquid (tomato water) and the pulp will remain in the cheesecloth.
- If you like, freeze the pulp for later addition to soups and stews. I use ice-cube trays and transfer the frozen results to a ziplock bag.
- Use the tomato water for tasting experiments for the tomato-shy.
- Variations include adult beverages such as Todd Thatcher's Clear Mary