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Sara's Kitchen Revelations – Tomatoes Need Salt

There is absolutely nothing better in the summer than a ripe tomato. We have a garden in the back field of my parents old farmhouse and some years I can’t keep up with the crop:

Bumper crop of tomatoes from my parents farmhouse

Even though this kind of harvest makes me feel slightly like Lucy trying to wrap all the candies on the conveyor belt I never get tired of eating dead ripe summer tomatoes.

But before I eat them straight up or use them in almost any recipe, I salt them first. I discovered this little trick years ago when I worked in the test kitchen at Gourmet Magazine. I had developed a recipe for a tomato basil and mozzarella tart with a bacon crust and when I baked it the filling came out watery. I wondered why and then I realized it was because the tomatoes gave off tons of liquid as they baked. I thought, hmmm, what would make them less watery and I realized that if I salted and drained them, that would pull a bunch of liquid out.

It worked. Not only did the tart lose all that extra water but also that pre salting intensified the flavor of the tomatoes. Now I salt and drain my tomatoes first for most of my recipes, whether I am cooking them or not.

Here is my “Fried” Catfish BLT – try this recipe and see what a difference the salt makes.

"Fried" Catfish BLT, photo by Jessica Leibowitz

 

 

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