Grating vegetables is nothing new — we grate carrots and cabbage for slaws, zucchini for muffins — yet you're wondering, why would I ever grate a tomato? The simple answer is that grating a tomato is the fastest and easiest way to peel and purée a tomato in one fell swoop, but there are a few more reasons too.
1. Skip blanching and blending.
Grating whole tomatoes on a box grater simultaneously removes the tomato skin and grates the tomatoes into a chunky purée. Peeling a whole tomato used to mean that you had to bring a big ol' pot of water to a boil, make an ice bath, blanch the tomatoes quickly in the hot water, chill them, and then peel them. Of course a serrated peeler will make quick work of the task too, but grating the tomatoes is a great solution for any time you don't have a big pot or said serrated peeler.
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2. Make tartines.
There is nothing more satisfying than a juicy, ripe tomato on a piece of bread. The bread soaks up the tomatoes, creating a jammy layer dripping with flavor. The French call this a tartine, while Americans might call it toast. A grated tomato's flesh has an almost jelly consistency that's perfect for topping toasted bread.
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3. Whip up an instant sauce.
Grate tomatoes, throw them in a warm pot of pasta with a pat of butter, stir, and devour. It will be one of the best easy dishes you enjoy all summer. You can also smear grated tomatoes onto pizza dough for a quick pizza sauce — this is especially delightful for grilled pizza.
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4. Use as purée.
If you've got a big batch of tomatoes, you should absolutely turn it into a big batch of tomato purée and freeze it. But say you have one or two tomatoes and a recipe that calls for one (15-ounce) can of tomato purée — grate those tomatoes and use them up.
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5. Whisk into vinaigrette.
Grated tomatoes make an incredible vinaigrette. Whisk the tomatoes with a generous glug of olive oil and a little red wine vinegar and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and you've got the best summer salad dressing ever — seriously, this stuff makes iceberg lettuce appetizing.
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