Skinning tomatoes is a detail that can be a matter of taste (some people won't eat tomatoes because they don't like the skins), presentation or relative necessity (when making a tomato sauce). It's a fun and easy technique.
Just make an X on the bottom of your tomatoes and throw them into a pot of boiling water for no more than a minute. Fish them out with a slotted spoon, plunge them into a bowl of cold water (or an ice bath), lift them directly back out, and peel back the skin with a knife or your fingers. It will slip off like a charm.
At this point, you can quarter your tomatoes and serve them. Or you can scoop out their seeds with a small spoon. Skinned, seeded tomatoes can be oven-dried or chopped and added to sauces.
Note: Since you are barely blanching the tomatoes, the boiled water will be virtually unadulterated, so don't throw it away: Use it to blanch another vegetable, or boil rice or pasta.
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristin @ apartmenttherapy . com