Fried Heirloom Tomatoes with Buttermilk Fried Oysters and Green Pepper Aioli — I think you’ll love this twist on the Southern classic.
The kids were sprawled in front of the television, a spirited game of Uno passing between each other. In the background, a drawl and talk of gumbo came from the screen, and scenes of dripping spanish moss and shining waters of the bayou. The Princess and the Frog was playing, and they half watched, half played their game, and rested from several hours of swimming, just as an evening of summer vacation should pass.
I heard the melody from the kitchen, and looked up from slicing some vegetables. After finally visiting the bayou myself, it brought a smile to my face. I reminded them of how I visited Avery Island a few months back. “Yeah, we know.” Old news, apparently.
Since then, my son has become more adventurous with the Tabasco on the table – we now have every flavor – and he will ask us to pass him a flavor to try every so often. He can take the heat!
I thought I would revisit a dish that I think reminds me most of Louisiana, but with a little twist. Fried green tomatoes seem synonymous with the South, and oysters go hand in hand with Tabasco – but a version of this dish I first encountered at one of my favorite restaurants here in San Francisco.
I went to the farmer’s market in hunt of green tomatoes, but came home with beautiful heirloom tomatoes instead. Making sure they were firm enough to handle a dip in some batter, these tomatoes are extra crunchy not from cornmeal, but from panko breadcrumbs. Topped with a buttermilk fried oyster and a green pepper aioli that featured the spice of the jalapeño in Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce, it’s definitely a treat that brings the freshness of California to the spice of the bayous.
Fried Heirloom Tomatoes with Buttermilk Fried Oysters and Green Pepper Aioli is a must try when you see fresh oysters and beautiful tomatoes at the market. And if you have some gumbo bubbling on the stove to go with it, all the better.
Disclosure: This post was made possible by Tabasco. This recipe is the second in a series I am publishing as part of the TABASCO® Tastemakers program featuring the Tabasco Family of Flavors. Thank you for supporting brands that matter to me and help behind the scenes at Kitchen Confidante. All opinions in this post are, as always, my own.
Fried Heirloom Tomatoes with Buttermilk Fried Oysters and Green Pepper Aioli
The ultimate savory Cajun-inspired bite featuring Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce.
For the Green Pepper Aioli:
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2-3 tablespoons Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce, to taste
several dashes Tabasco Original Red Sauce, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Fried Heirloom Tomatoes and Buttermilk Fried Oysters:
4 medium sized oysters
2 medium to large firm heirloom tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup buttermilk
pinch of salt
several dashes Tabasco Original Red Sauce
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Make the Green Pepper Aioli:
Peel and mash the garlic along with the salt, finely mincing and pressing with the side of the knife to create a paste. Place the garlic in a small bowl, season with some freshly cracked black pepper and whisk in the egg yolk until it is creamy. As you whisk, begin to add the olive oil gradually: begin with just a few drops of olive oil, fully whisking until the yolks thicken and emulsify. Continue adding the olive oil in drops, then in a very slow stream, continually whisking. It should be thick and very creamy. Stir in the buttermilk, Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce and season with Tabasco Original Red Sauce, salt and pepper, to taste. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This can be done a few days in advance.
Make the Fried Heirloom Tomatoes and Buttermilk Fried Oysters:
Shuck the oysters and discard the shells. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, salt and Tabasco. Divide the buttermilk mixture in half. In one bowl, marinate the oysters in the buttermilk bath for about 10 minutes. Set the other half of the buttermilk mixture in a shallow bowl.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
Preheat the oil in your deep fryer or deep sided sauté pan to 350 degrees F.
Remove each oyster one at a time and let the excess buttermilk drip off, then dredge in the flour mixture. Place in the hot oil, and working in batches, let it the oysters fry for about 1 minute per side, until they are golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the oysters and set it on a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool slightly.
Take the tomato slices and dredge in the flour mixture, coating on all sides. Quickly dip into the reserved buttermilk mixture, then dip into the panko breadcrumbs, coat on all sides. Working in batches, fry the tomatoes in the hot oil, about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden and crispy. Retrieve the tomatoes using a slotted spoon or tongs, and set on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Fried Heirloom Tomatoes and Buttermilk Fried Oysters inspired by and adapted from Boulevard: The Cookbook (Oakes, Mazzola & Weiss, 2005). Aioli sauce adapted from The Creamiest Aioli Recipe, Suzanne Goin, via Bon Appetit (April, 2012).