If You Want To Finely Dice A Tomato, One Variety Works Best

chopped tomato pieces on a plate
chopped tomato pieces on a plate - HandmadePictures/Shutterstock

One of the most important skills any aspiring chef has to master is how to slice and dice vegetables so that they're all the same size. Uniform knife cuts can make or break the visual appeal of a dish, but more importantly, it's crucial to cut everything to the same size so that the food cooks evenly. Some vegetables are easier to dice than others, however, like tomatoes. There are thousands of varieties of the savory fruit, but only one is perfect for cutting into small pieces, and that's the Roma.

If you've ever cut up a batch of tomatoes to pile on top of tacos, or to make a tomato salad, you know that oftentimes, the juice and seeds can make a big mess. Softer varieties of tomatoes can also get squished while you're slicing and you can wind up with something that looks more like tomato sauce than tomato pieces. Roma tomatoes, however, keep their shape when you cut them, and it's easy to remove their pulp and seeds without damaging the flesh. All you have to do is make sure you use a sharp, serrated knife, and know how to make a few strategic cuts.

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Roma Tomatoes Have Dense Flesh

freshly washed Roma tomatoes
freshly washed Roma tomatoes - LesiChkalll27/Shutterstock

Most of the time, when we go to the supermarket in search of fresh tomatoes, it's not to look for any sort of special variety. Unless a recipe specifies a specific type, most of us just grab a few ripe-looking red fruits and move on. You might not even know that the most common tomato variety at the grocery store is called a globe. All tomatoes were not created equal, however, and in fact, there are often several kinds at the grocery store and more than 10,000 distinct varieties available around the world, according to North Carolina State Extension.

If your recipe calls for diced fresh tomatoes, Roma tomatoes are the one to rule them all. Unlike the typical globes in the produce section, or the occasional beefsteak, Romas have meaty flesh and significantly fewer seeds than most varieties. They also have a very consistent, uniform shape, which makes them easy to chop down into small pieces. To do this, simply slice the tomato into quarters from top to bottom, and then use a sharp knife or your hands to remove the seeds. Cut the flesh that's left behind into strips, and then cut those into small pieces, using a cutting technique like a brunoise.

Use A Sharp, Serrated Knife To Cut Tomatoes

Choosing roma tomatoes at the store
Choosing roma tomatoes at the store - Johnnygreig/Getty Images

While a Roma tomato is the best for dicing, the all-star variety can only do so much if you're not cutting it with the right knife. Cutting tomatoes, even the more resilient Roma variety, is easiest when you have a thin blade with a serrated edge. This configuration will allow you to slice through the tougher skin on the outside of the fruit without needing to press down on the knife, which would squish the flesh. You can spring for a special tomato knife, which is just a small, unassuming serrated blade. Or, you can use a cheese knife that has hollow channels built into the blade. Whichever model you choose, just make sure that it's nice and sharp so that you can easily move the blade back and forth to cut pieces.

The other nice thing about Roma tomatoes is that they are usually always available at the grocery store and they're pretty inexpensive. In fact, they're perfect for practicing your knife skills. So, the next time a recipe calls for diced fresh tomatoes, grab a few extra Romas and get chopping!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.