Chopped Tomato

THE STORY: Banish the can. Be done with the jar. Well, not entirely.  But almost. You can and might and should make the red gold yourself. I mean chopped tomato.

We buy a pizza dough from time to time. Flatten it. Stretch it. In my wife’s region of Italy (San Marino, Romagna, Marche) you get something pizza-like or foccaccia-like.  Called variously spianata, fornarina, ciclista, schiacciatina. White pizza, some of them come thin thin thin, with a little olive oil and sea salt and rosemary to make them fragrant and even more appealing. Top one of those with a little chopped tomato and arugula, you have something extra good. Stra-good, they might say over there. The tomato matters. So much.

Once I believed good (read: sweet) tomato was achievable only in the summer. Wrong. Year around you can enjoy the red gold. So, the Campari tomato.  Between golf ball and tennis ball size, high in sugar content, low in acid, these tomatoes are juicy tender fleshy balls of flavor. I like mine peeled, seedless, chopped. Good on focaccia, good on sliced mozzarella. Good on lots of stuff. A few seconds before I lay a bowl of penne with pesto on the table, I might ladle a few spoonfuls of red gold over the pasta.  The color! The taste!

NICHE: Garnish cooked vegetables, add to a pasta, spoon over soft cheese




4-5 Campari tomatoes

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

A sprinkle of sea salt 


Bring a pan of water to boil and blanch the tomatoes for 15-20 seconds. Drain the boil and run cold water over the tomatoes, still in the pan.  Fill the pan half full.

Cut the stem out with a sharp knife. You’ll notice the skin loosening around the tomato. You can peel it off with your fingers. If it doesn’t slip loose from the fruit, you needed to blanch is a little longer. (Next time.)   Once the peel is removed, slice the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds with your fingers. 

To get all the seeds out, sometimes an incision along one of those fine white veins in the fruit is necessary. Get them all. I douse them in the pan of cool water as I work, splashing away the seeds.  Why not get all of them?

You’ll then chop the halves. I like them chunky.

Finally you will have a pile of them on your cutting board. I scoop them into the palms of my hands and squeeze away the excess water. Drizzle olive over them in a bowl.  Don’t salt them until you serve them. Salt will draw the water out of them. 

These guys are so sweet. With good olive oil they are good on anything, in abundance, shown here with some boiled cauliflower and with chickpeas and tuna.