These Fried Red Tomatoes are the perfect appetizer to serve to a crowd. They are inexpensive to make and are absolutely delicious paired with this tangy yogurt dipping sauce!
How to make fried RED tomatoes
I am sure you have heard of fried GREEN tomatoes before. They are very popular in pubs and bars as an appetizer. I don't know about you but green tomatoes are not easy to find. So I decided to use red tomatoes instead! The difference is the taste and texture.
Green tomatoes are usually more firm and a bit acidic. Their firmness is what makes them ideal for frying. They are NOT to be confused with UNRIPE red tomatoes. Read about what a green tomato is here.
Tips when choosing your tomatoes
You can pretty much use any red tomato variety you like however it is important to keep in mind the texture of your tomatoes! You don't want to use tomatoes that are overly ripe. You want them to hold their shape and not get too soggy or soft. When you cook red tomatoes they break down and become softer than they originally were. So starting off with tomatoes that are very firm is key! Also look for tomatoes with less seeds.
Best Tomato Options:
- Beefsteak tomatoes (red or green)
- Roma tomatoes
- Heirloom tomatoes
- Vine ripened tomatoes
Your breading choices
When it comes to the exterior of your fried tomatoes, we can either use cornmeal or breadcrumbs. Cornmeal is pretty traditional when it comes to fried green tomatoes. The outside of the tomato, when coated in cornmeal becomes crunchy. Using breadcrumbs gives a similar result but the texture is slightly different.
So I decided to use BOTH in this recipe. A little bit of breadcrumbs and a little bit of cornmeal. Both together give the tomatoes a crunch and crispy texture. I ALSO added some grated Parmesan cheese to my breading for some added flavor! You can use regular breadcrumbs or panko if you prefer.
How to fry your red tomatoes
You can fry your tomatoes two ways. Shallow or deep fry. A shallow fry is simply adding about half an inch of oil to a pot or pan and frying on both sides until golden brown.
Deep frying is exactly what it sounds. Frying your tomatoes in deeper oil allowing the food to float in the oil. However you really don't need to add a ton of oil. To deep fry, I suggest going with 2-3" of oil.
The advantages to deep frying is that your tomatoes will cook more evenly and get super crispy. Shallow frying allows you to control the oil temperature better. Both work and the choice is up to you.
Roasted Pepper Tomato Dipping Sauce
This sauce is everything. It takes your tomatoes to another level. Seriously.
Fried tomatoes are delicious on their own, but when you have something to add to that sweet and crunchy flavor, it adds so much flavor!
The sauce I used is a combination of mayo, basil and roasted red peppers with a touch of sugar. Mayonaisse and basil go VERY well with tomatoes so you know it will taste delicious. It wont take away from the flavor of the tomatoes but instead will bring out the sweetness in your tomatoes.
Other fried appetizers you might like:
Fried Red Tomatoes (w/ Red Pepper Basil Aioli)
- 2 Medium Firm Ripe Red Tomatoes
- ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs
Red Pepper Basil Aioli
- 1 cup mayo
- 2 oz. roasted red peppers* ((about ½ cup chopped))
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves ((about one handful))
- 1 tsp salt
- Pat dry your roasted red peppers well and add them to a food processor, along with your mayo, basil leaves and salt. Puree for 15 seconds and pour into a small bowl. Chill until ready to use.
- Slice your tomatoes into ¼" to ½" thick slices and season both sides well with salt and pepper.
- Set up your dredging station.Add your flour to a shallow bowl. Whisk your eggs in another shallow bowl. Add your breadcrumbs, corn meal, parm cheese, garlic and onion powder to another shallow bowl and mix together. You should have 3 bowls set up.
- Add enough oil to a skillet or pot and heat to 350°F.
- While waiting for your oil to get hot, dredge each tomato slice in the flour, followed by the eggs and lastly, in the breadcrumb cornmeal mixture. Make sure to coat all sides well.
- When your oil is hot, fry your tomatoes for about 1-2 minutes on each side. You are just looking for a golden brown color on the outside.
- Allow your fried tomatoes to cool on a wire rack or paper towels so they stay crispy. Serve warm with aioli sauce on the side for dipping.