(Courtesy by AP) Fried whole cherry tomatoes may sound unusual, but they are beautiful and delicious. John Besh, author of the cookbook “My New Orleans,” gives them a simple tempura-like batter and an easy aioli sauce for dipping.

Any small, cluster (on the vine) tomatoes work in this recipe. Most grocers sell several varieties this way.

(Courtesy by AP) Fried whole cherry tomatoes may sound unusual, but they are beautiful and delicious. John Besh, author of the cookbook “My New Orleans,” gives them a simple tempura-like batter and an easy aioli sauce for dipping.

Any small, cluster (on the vine) tomatoes work in this recipe. Most grocers sell several varieties this way.


FRIED TOMATOES WITH AIOLI

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

For the aioli:
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon ice water
2 egg yolks
Salt
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

For the tomatoes:
1 quart olive or vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups club soda
24 to 36 small cluster (on the vine) tomatoes

  1. 1. To make the aioli, in a food processor combine the garlic, lemon juice, water and egg yolks. Process until thick and evenly pureed. With the processor running, add a pinch of salt, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
  2. If the aioli looks oily, add a touch more ice water. The color should be pale yellow and the texture should be matte, not glossy. Set aside.
  3. In a deep heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high, heat the oil to 350 F.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add the club soda, whisking gently to keep the batter fluffy. The batter will be thin.
  5. Use scissors to cut the tomato vines to divide them into small clusters. Rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry.
  6. Working in batches, dip each cluster into the batter, coating them all over, then carefully slip them into the hot oil. Fry the tomatoes until the batter is lacy, crisp and golden brown, about 1 minute. Using metal tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the tomatoes to paper towels to drain. Serve with aioli.

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