Italian Recipes – Chopping the Tomatoes for Panzanella

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,066
    Culinary and Lifestyle Specialist Lisa Mushaw demonstrates how to chop tomatoes for Panzanella.

    Lisa Mushaw

    A new generation doyenne on the rise who is staking her claim in the lofty arenas of international travel, tourism and the culinary arts, Lisa Mushaw is making transatlantic waves with TREASURES OF TUSCANY – AN EPICUREAN VOYAGE. TREASURES launched in November 2002 as a one-week vacation abroad with a twist – a cooking program where participants are given extensive exposure to Italian cuisine while discovering the physical beauty and traditions that are uniquely Tuscan. The idea was to offer “foodies” an opportunity to share and celebrate the cultural, personal and convivial rites that are the Tuscan Table, while basking in the charm of one of the world’s most exquisite and historic treasures. Lisa is a “natural taster” who cut her culinary teeth in the kitchen of relatives who excelled in the preparation of Creole cuisine. As a child, long before she knew the difference between battuto and affogato, she demonstrated a natural talent for discerning which ingredients were missing or used in excess in recipes. Her culinary gifts are no accident as her family roots include small business owners who made their living as caterers in New Orleans. A fervent student of food and wine, Lisa’s most recent accomplishment was completing a three year sommelier program. TREASURES OF TUSCANY – AN EPICUREAN VOYAGE is ideal for those with a passion for continental adventure who want to escape the drama of daily life and be transformed by a week in Florence – the center of the Renaissance, the Etruscan city of San Gimingnano or the medieval town of Lucca, creating memories that will last for years on end. Those who bask in attention to detail, pampering and personal service will want to join Lisa for the this extraordinary excursion to Toscana, the Italian province rich in beauty and character and the birthplace of much great Italian art, cuisine, and history.

    Lisa Mushaw: Hi! I am Lisa Mushaw, owner of Treasures of Tuscany - An Epicurean Voyage. Today we are preparing Panzanella. Panzanella is tomato and bread salad.

    Right now I am going to show you how to chop tomato.

    Well, before I begin talking about tomato, I want to talk about tomato itself. The success of this recipe really relies on the rightness of a tomato. You really want to use wine-ripened farm grown backyard tomatoes. Hot house tomatoes will not do, this recipe will fall apart for you if you use non-ripe tomatoes.

    As you can see here I have selected several different varieties of tomatoes, you can use all of one type of tomato if you like or you can mix it up. And again, because we are talking about making a salad and we are also looking at using the freshest that the season has to offer, its little bit more interesting sometimes when you have the different textures and the different flavors bursting in your mouth.

    So, lets begin talking about the chop. You want to go ahead in core of the tomato; and to do this, you simply cut a circle around the core and then you release it, like so. And again, you might want to just skim up very little bit of the backend of the tomato, like so.

    Once youve done that you are just going to coarsely chop tomato again into bite-size pieces, so I always like to cut a tomato in half and then again following the grooves of the tomato making wedges and then turning it and cutting it in half again, like so, and once Ive done that I am then going to go ahead and place them in the salad bowl that we are going to use for the panzanella. Again, cutting into the wedges that are already naturally created by the tomato, turning it sideways and then cutting it again, and then placing the tomatoes into the bowl. Once weve finished cutting all the tomatoes up we then will go ahead and put the whole salad together.