Peeling the skins off assorted herbs, fruits and vegetables is one of the less appreciated tasks of cooking. No one I know really complains about peeling carrots, but few I know enjoy removing that delicate and stubborn outer layer from the likes of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic. Here are few tips to ease the pain with these reluctant undressers.
Tomatoes have a fine outer skin that sometimes has to be removed when preparing sauces. Leaving the skin on with the resulting macerated residue ruins the smooth consistency of the ideal sauce, so here’s what you can do. Make a shallow notch on either side of the upper part of the tomato, and then with a sharp knife cut a line just piercing the skin and running the length of the tomato, and another perpendicular that runs around the circumference. Now dip the tomatoes in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then cool in cold water and peel the skins away.
Peppers have a fine shiny skin that is difficult to remove. Here you will need to place your washed pepper in a pre-heated oven and leave until you notice black blistering forming on the surface. Remove them from the stove and place in plastic bags. Rub the peppers through the bags and the skin will fall away.
Onions as everyone knows will just drop the peel when you cut them; however, if you want a whole onion, the hot water trick we used for tomatoes will work. Dip them in hot water, dry, and taking that fine skin of will seem a lot less onerous.
Garlic when it is crushed on a cutting board will separate from its outer skin, but here again, if you want the garlic whole, as i sometimes do, dip them in boiling water for a minute and you can remove the skin easily. If you want to take your time, leaving them to rest in hot water would work perfectly well too.
There you have it. Good luck now with the real task at hand: using all of those ingredients to create something worth eating!