Whitesburg KY
Clear
Clear
36°F
 

Watermelon, tomatoes take stage in southern recipes




Left: Contemporary southern cooking has moved well beyond the classic image of fried chicken or barbecue. One taste of this watermelon-strawberry sorbet from John Besh’s cookbook, “My New Orleans”, will make you a believer of the new southern style.

Left: Contemporary southern cooking has moved well beyond the classic image of fried chicken or barbecue. One taste of this watermelon-strawberry sorbet from John Besh’s cookbook, “My New Orleans”, will make you a believer of the new southern style.

Whether you’re in the South, from the South, or never even been to the South, it’s easy to appreciate this simple sorbet of pureed watermelon and strawberries from John Besh’s cookbook, “My New Orleans.”

The secret to knowing whether you’ve added enough sugar to your sorbet? According to Besh, you just need to float an egg in the puree before you freeze it.

He says that if you float a clean egg (in the shell) in the mixture, you can tell whether you need to add more sugar (if the egg sinks) or more juice or water (if the egg floats high on the mixture). Ideally, the egg will float just at the surface, showing about a nickelsize spot of shell.

WATERMELON-STRAWBERRY

SORBET

Start to finish: 10 minutes (plus freezing time)

Servings: 6

1 pint strawberries, hulled

1 cup diced, seeded watermelon

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

Right: Rethink southern fried food with these tomatoes. (AP Photos/Larry Crowe)

Right: Rethink southern fried food with these tomatoes. (AP Photos/Larry Crowe)

In a blender, puree the strawberries, watermelon, lemon juice and sugar until smooth. Check that the puree has the correct amount of sugar. Add more sugar or juice if necessary (determine using method described above).

Transfer the puree to the canister of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the sorbet in the freezer until ready to use.

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

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.

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.

In a deep heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high, heat the oil to 350 F.

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.

Use scissors to cut the tomato vines to divide them into small clusters. Rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry.

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.

Recipes from John Besh’s “My
New Orleans,” Andrews McMeel,
2009.


Leave a Reply