Welcome to another installment of knife skills. Today we are going to discuss how to slice or dice (cube) a tomato.
When choosing tomatoes, I like to buy the heirloom tomatoes, particularly in the summer months. They tend to have the best flavor and certainly are the prettiest! Otherwise I buy the vine tomatoes. Here is a hint…when buying the tomatoes on the vine, remember to remove them from the vine so that they last longer! First thing is first…we ALWAYS start out with a nice, sharp knife. Especially with a soft item like a tomato…it is crucial to have a sharp knife so you can slice right through it instead of squishing it. Remember whenever you are cutting anything or slicing or dicing…you are NOT pressing on the item. Let the blade do the work for you. Use the whole blade when cutting something. Nice back and forth motions using the whole blade of the knife and zero power will prevent your tomatoes from turning into mush.
FYI…I use Globals as my knives of choice. I love them. I have had them for 12 years. And they have been nothing but wonderful. I take them to client’s houses to do private cooking classes, I take them to catering occasions and I use them on a daily basis at home. They are light, easy to wash and stay sharp. I bought them from a store with my student discount while still in Culinary School as a graduation present to myself. However, you can find them on Amazon for a really great price too.
First thing is first. Wash your tomato. Remove the stem.
Our goal here is nice even medium sized dices. Place your tomato face down on the side where you removed the stem. This will offer you more stability when you are cutting your tomato. Now slice the tomato into nice slices. The thinner you want your dice the thinner you slice it. Now at this point, if you were going to tomato slices you are done. You could also have sliced your tomato for perfect burger sized pieces by placing it on one of sides with a stem and slicing where the stem would have been to get gorgeous round slices. This works particularly well with beef steak tomato varieties.
Now what I like to do, is take my deck of tomatoes and split it in half for easier handling. Tomatoes are slippery little suckers and sometimes make it messy. So I find it a bit easier to control it this way.
Now lay those flat on the board and slice them into long strips. It really does not matter which way. Just make nice strips. Remember, the thinner the strips, the smaller the dice. Then turn the tomatoes the other way and dice to your desired dice size! See here it is a bit more close up. And you have gorgeous, perfectly diced tomatoes!!! Remember guys…this is all about skills and techniques… and now that you have mad knife skills, you can use this exact technique with a number of other round fruits and veggies. From onions to apples to peaches to potatoes! Now go on with your bad self and start dicing like a maniac… Practice makes perfect and you aren’t gonna get good at it by just staring at your shiny computer screen!