There is an ongoing debate as to which kind of knife works best when slicing tomatoes.
Some say going straight-edged all the way is the only way to go. Others will stand by the serrated blade and nothing else for this fruit/vegetable.
But one often overlooked appliance which can do the job is the food processor.
Yes, slicing tomatoes in a food processor is very possible. It is also the easiest and fastest way to go about this task. Unfortunately, it would be hard to achieve the beautiful, even slices that would grace a hefty burger or cool summer salads with this appliance.
But it is possible. Here is how you can do it.
Prepare Everything You Need
Wash a pound of plump tomatoes and clean your food processor. Take out the attachment with rotating blades inside the container and replace it with the disc attachment for slicing. Put in the protective cover.
Put the Tomatoes in the Chute / Feeding Tube
If you’ve got smaller variants like Roma and San Marzano, try to put in two or three inside the chute with the node or eye facing up. If you’re using Better Boy or Big Beef, one should be enough.
Make sure that the tomatoes are relatively snug in the chute but not overly tight. This will ensure that you get good slices.
Cover the Chute with the Pusher
The pusher is another attachment of the machine which, as the name implies, pushes the food close to the slicer disc.
Turn the Food Processor On
As soon as you hear the whirr, push the fruit/veggie down to the disc. Thinly-sliced discs will be deposited in the container below. Turn the machine off after you’ve completed the set inside the feeding tube.
Go Back to Step 2 and Repeat
Do this until you finish the rest of your tomatoes. Positioning this neatly inside the chute is probably the most challenging part of the whole process. The machine will do most of the job in less than a minute per set that is why this is the fastest method.
Take the Cover Out and Use as Needed!
Open the machine and transfer the slivers to another container. Use these in your chosen recipe accordingly.
The Better Option: The Mandolin
If you haven’t encountered this yet, know that this is a must-have in the kitchen especially for slicing fresh produce – especially a tomato.
The prototypes are very basic in the sense that it just has a straight blade.
However, these have knobs on the sides for adjusting the thickness of the cuts.
Newer ones can julienne, shred, grate and even make crisscross slices.
Give it a try and see the wonders it can do for you!
The Best Option: The Knife
Your good old-fashioned kitchen knife is still the best option, particularly if you want to do other types of cuts.
This is done by cutting the fruit in four. Position it eye side up then slice down in the middle. Turn it sideways then do another cut in the middle to reveal quarter moon shapes.
Take a quarter slice and lay it down flat on the board. Cut this into two or three segments and you’ve got larger dices.
These small squares are achieved by making thick cross-section slices, making batons (thicker juliennes) out of those, and then dicing the strips.
Lay your fruit/veggie down on the board with the eye on the side. With your knuckles as the guide for thickness, carefully slice using a clean up-to-down motion.
Take a quarter and then remove the pulpy seed pocket. Lay this piece flat on a board, skin side down, and run the tip of your knife on it making thin juliennes.
Make nicks on the opposite side of the fruit’s eye then place in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. When you see bits of the skin curl back, transfer to a bowl with ice water to cool it down. With a paring or utility knife, you can carefully remove the peel out with ease.
Should I Use a Food Processor?
Tomatoes are must-haves in the kitchen. With its complex sweet/tangy flavor, a lot of dishes will taste brighter and deeper when this is added.
Any tomato product will work – commercial sauces pastes in tin foil packs, canned diced ones.
But there is still something extra special and scrumptious about making all those from scratch. And that means slicing and dicing the fruit.
A food processor is a wonderful appliance that all home cooks should have in the kitchen.
It can slice our featured ingredient and make it into a puree. There are even some brands like Cuisinart and KitchenAid which have dicing capabilities using another attachment.
But it’s still quite limited when it comes to slicing tomatoes. And except for purees, you’re not going to get perfect cuts.
For those, you’re better off with a mandolin or a sharp, well-honed knife.