Making flowers out of things that aren’t flowers is a staple of seventies cuisine. I was only alive for two years of the 1970s, but my mom’s cooking repertoire was mostly formed in that decade.
So I am, at least in stomach, a child of the seventies.
This time, however, the proof is not in the pudding, but in the tomato rose. Yes, folks, one of my many completely pointless talents is the ability to turn just about any vegetable out there into some kind of flower. And one of the most satisfying of my Tricks With Vegetables (or fruit, in this case) is the tomato rose.
You want to start with a very large, very red tomato and a very sharp knife that gives you some mobility:
Begin your cut at the top, right by the green bit. Insert the sharp side of your knife under the skin. You’ll probably need to practice on a few tomatoes to get the right thickness of peel: too thin, and it looks anemic; too thick, and it won’t curl but will break. As for the width of your peel, you want about a good inch, so your rose isn’t too squat or too narrow when you roll it up. Here’s my first cut (keep in mind I have tiny chimp fingers if you’re using my thumb as a measuring aid):
Continue slicing around the tomato, just like you would if you were peeling an apple to make a pig-tail peeling:
Continue cutting all the way down and around the tomato. The key here, again, is thickness of peel. You don’t want it too thick, or you won’t be able to roll it without breaking it. Nor do you want it too thin, or you end up with a sad little anorexic rose.
When you’re done peeling the tomato, you’ll have a nice long tomato skin to flower-up:
To begin forming the flower, start by rolling one end of the skin–outside-of-the-tomato-inwards:
Continue rolling, keeping the tomato tight so it makes a nice, firm rosebud. And yes, I giggled typing that:
Keep rolling until your rosebud has become a rose. After which, you can secure it by either nestling it in a dip, as I’ve done below, or securing it with a toothpick or two if there’s nothing in which it can nestle.
And that, my friends, is how one makes a tomato rose. Be careful, or I may turn you into a garnish! Next time on Cooking With Nicole, I shall continue the Seventies theme with the above nestling-tool: good, old-fashioned, Seven-Layer Dip. YUM. See you shortly!