The tomatoes right now are so ripe and delicious that they practically melt in your mouth. I should know — I've been eating enough of them! They're also so ripe that they can get easily bruised or mangled as I try to slice them up for salads and sandwiches. Do you know the best tool for cutting up a tomato?
Despite trying many special "tomato slicer" knives over the years, my favorite tool for the job is still a serrated knife. It might seem a little counterintuitive to use such a large, long knife to cut up a delicate little tomato, but I've truly never gotten a cleaner cut or more precise slicing with any other knife. Instead of cutting straight down, just draw the serrated knife across the tomato in a slicing motion. You barely need to press downward as you slice.
Why does this work? Maybe because serrated knives are often the sharpest knives in our kitchens. We mostly use them for slicing loaves of bread, so they never get the hard work-out of our chef's knives and paring knives. The many gripping surfaces of a serrated knife also cut through the smooth, slippery of the tomato much more easily than other knives.
Is this how you cut your tomatoes? Or do you have another knife you like to use?
This post has been updated. Originally published 07/31/09.