My wife and I took a trip down to New Orleans this spring. The city was unlike any other that either of us had visited. Looking to experience some authentic New Orleans food, we brunched at the Palace Cafe. This beautiful restaurant looked like it could have been the inspiration for Tiana’s dream New Orleans restaurant in Princess in the Frog. I would highly recommend this restaurant, which comes complete with a wonderful menu, a Bellini bar and tableside music.
My wife ordered shrimp remoulade in a deep fried tomato bowl that afternoon. Her meal tasted as good as it looked, so, obviously, I set out to recreate it. The remoulade sauce was pretty easy to pull off. I found a good recipe here and then tweaked it to our tastes. Ultimately, this is what I created:
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup of chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons of honey mustard (Creole mustard proved difficult to find)
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Louisiana-style chili pepper hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 medium scallions
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of Slap-Ya-Mamma Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
Chop the scallions, parsley and garlic. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. The final product will be a light orange color, similar to a Thousand Island dressing.
I used our deep fryer for this one. On my first attempt, I tried to make deep-fried tomato bowls. I cut out the core of a vine tomato to make a bowl, dipped it in egg, breaded it and fried it. It tasted great, but was mushy, fell to pieces and looked like a disaster.
Next, I wedged plum tomatoes, which are a bit firmer. After wedging them, I froze them. Then, I battered and fried them. They mostly held up (as you can see in the below picture) and though they’re not the prettiest, the flavor was spot-on. Ultimately, it was a success.
Finally, I took one more stab at the dish, trying to create my own presentation that I could be proud of. Unfortunately, we skipped the photography part because I cooked for guests that day, but take my word for it…for good deep fried tomatoes, this is the way to go!
Deep Fried Tomatoes Ingredients
- 1 Heirloom tomato per person
- Note: You want to pick firm ones. I found yellow ones that were tangy and perfect for this dish.
- Seasoned breadcrumbs
- All purpose flour
- 1 Egg per tomato
Slice the tomatoes into approximately half-inch slices and freeze them. Heat the deep fryer to 375 degrees.
Beat eggs and milk together in a bowl, scoop flower and breadcrumbs onto separate plates. Add salt and pepper to breadcrumbs, to taste.
Take your tomatoes out of the freezer and coat well with flour. Dip the floured tomatoes into the egg mixture, making sure to coat well. Coat again with breadcrumbs.
Submerge the deep fryer basket in the hot oil. When you put the tomatoes in, you want them to hit the oil first, so drop them straight in—don’t place them into the basket and lower it into the oil. This helps the batter to start cooking right away, so they won’t stick to the basket.
Fry the tomatoes until they have a brown, crusty exterior.
Finally, the shrimp is the easiest part.
- 5 large shrimp per person
- Old Bay seasoning
Add shrimp to a Ziploc bag, and toss in Old Bay to taste.
Toss around to coat the shrimp with the Old Bay
In a steamer pot, bring water to a boil. Move the shrimp from the bag into the steamer and cook until pink (approximately 3 minutes).
Presentation Note: I drizzled the remoulade sauce on the tomatoes and shrimp. I then served some of the sauce on the side so my guests could add it to their tastes. The sauce had a bit of a kick, so I prefer to give my guests a choice.
Side Dish Suggestion: We love homemade potato chips or french fries. I use baking potatoes, cut them into fries or chips, and then deep-fry them. Once they are brown on the outside I put them onto a cookie sheet and add salt and Old Bay. I then put them in the oven on the lowest heat setting (this keeps them from getting mushy) and keep them warm until the rest of the meal is ready.
Francis Tucker is a practicing attorney in New York City. He enjoys traveling, experimenting in the kitchen, and a good Scotch.