If you’ve never had burnt tomatoes before, well they are of the South and they are a MASTERPIECE. If you think the only Thanksgiving sweet potato dish that belongs on the table is mashed, sweet and covered in marshmallows – THINK AGAIN. This dish is slightly sweet (I mean, there’s a layer of caramelized brown sugar on top, so it’s gotta be), but it also has a heavy dose of savory. Sweet potatoes layer fried tomatoes and baked for up to two hours so that everything collapses into a buttery, lava-hot pile of delicious.
Yes, this is meant for Thanksgiving, but I make it whenever it’s cold outside! This dish will warm you up, impress the hell out of you, and become a new family staple. Or at least, it’s a family staple in my house (ahem…apartment), which is why it’s been dubbed “Mother Snacks’ Burnt Sweet Potatoes & Tomatoes.” We gotta start traditions somewhere!
Now, I first learned about Souther Burnt Tomatoes from Mason Hereford’s cookbook “Turkey and the Wolf,” named of course after his famed New Orleans restaurant. Which you must visit. You must.
You must also buy this cookbook. It’s one of the few restaurant cookbooks out there because it’s so cookable, and has tons of Thanksgiving options. Like his Mom’s Burnt Tomatoes.
Now his version of burnt tomatoes errs much more on the salty/savory/peppery side, whereas mine dips a little more into sweet. But his recipe will always be the original, and I thank him (and his mom!) for being the kick-off point and starting place for this recipe!
So wait, how do burnt tomatoes work?
Burnt tomatoes aren’t like grilled tomatoes. These tomatoes are roasted to oblivion, so don’t use farmer’s market tomatoes for this recipe. Any grocery store, ho-hum, out-of-season tomato will still give you a great result!
The tomatoes are first coated in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and brown sugar, then fried for 5-6 minutes per side. You could stop right there and eat them as a snack, but there is so much more potential.
I layer these fried tomatoes with medallions of cooked sweet potato – making salty-sweet layers. Then I dot on some butter and sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, cinnamon and smoked paprika. This makes them smoky but sweet, and it melds together the tomato and sweet potato PERFECTLY.
You keep these layers going until you reach the top and always finish with a layer of tomatoes. The last of the brown sugar goes on top, and then it’s in the oven for at least 90 minutes. The casserole almost collapses on itself, getting bubbly as hell, with a crisp, caramelized sugar layer on top.
I’M DROOLING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.
So yeah, give these a try if you’d like. Taste heaven if you do! It’s a bit of a process, with the frying of the tomatoes and the final baking time. But wow, is it worth it.
I hope these burnt tomatoes make it into your family traditions because they’ve definitely made it into mine! And if you make it, please tag me on Pinterest or Instagram so I can see! It’s my favorite thing to scroll through stories and see what you all are making.
And of course feel free to leave any questions, comments or reviews! This is the best place to reach me, and I’d love to hear from you <3
Mother Snacks’ Burnt Sweet Potatoes & Tomatoes
- 1 cast iron skillet or skillet of choice
- 1 9"x13" inch baking dish
- 3-4 medium sweet potatoes or yams 2 1/2 pounds
- 12-15 tomatoes on the vine 3 pounds
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups avocado oil or other frying oil
- 6 tablespoons salted butter cut into pea-sized pieces
- Pierce all the sweet potatoes with a fork. Microwave or bake them until soft (I like to microwave them for 15 minutes). Slice them into medallions and set aside.
- Slice the tomatoes into 1-inch thick circular pieces. Add them to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, a tablespoon of salt, a few generous cracks of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, the cinnamon, paprika, red pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt. Mix and set aside.
- Set a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add in the oil.
- Coat the tomato slices in the flour mixture, making sure they are covered all over.
- Fry the tomatoes in batches. They should sizzle as soon as they hit the oil, if they don't, increase the temperature. Fry the slices for 5-6 minutes on each side or until they are nice, soft and a dark golden brown.
- While you are frying, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Use a slotted spatula to lift out the tomato slices, shaking off as much excess oil as possible.
- Lightly grease the sides of a 9"x13" baking dish and layer the fried tomatoes in one even layer across the bottom. Lay an even layer of the sweet potato medallions on top. Dot the sweet potatoes with pea-sized dots of butter and sprinkle one-third of the brown sugar mixture over top. As you continue to fry the tomatoes, continue to layer them, then the sweet potatoes, then dot with butter and add another layer of the sugar mixture. Press everything into the pan, creating tight layers.
- Make sure the top layer of the pan is a tomato layer, they tend to be the prettiest. Sprinkle the last of the sugar mixture over the top.
- Bake this for 90 minutes at 375°F. You'll start to hear it bubble around the 60-minute mark. You'll start to see it get a caramelized brown shortly after.
- When it comes out of the oven it will be lava hot, so give it a few minutes to cool. Then scoop, and serve!