crispy smoked smashed potatoes served with confit tomatoes and a tomato confit aioli
In a medium saucepan, add the cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and extra virgin olive oil. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 1 hour. Let cool. Discard the thyme sprigs. Strain the cherry tomatoes and garlic. Reserve the oil for the aioli.
Meanwhile, prepare the smoker over medium heat (I used apple wood chips). Tear two large pieces of foil and place them on top of one another. Place the fingerling potatoes in the center and fold the edges of the foil to create a “dish” for the potatoes. Place the potatoes in the smoker and smoke them for 45 minutes, or until infused with flavor and tender. Let the potatoes cool slightly. Use your hands or the back of a knife to smash the potatoes so they are flat and almost “broken”.
Heat a pot of oil to 350°F (or use a deep fryer set to the same temperature). When the oil is sizzling hot, work in batches to fry the smashed potatoes. Fry until crispy and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Drain the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Immediately season the potatoes with salt (pretty generously). Keep warm (I like to pop the sheet pan into a 200°F oven or use a warmer) while frying the rest of the potatoes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the egg yolk. Whisk vigorously until the yolk is pale yellow and thick, about 1 full minute. Begin to slowly stream in the tomato confit oil, very slowly, while continuously whisking. Once the mixture looks glossy and like it might just be separating, add a splash of ice water. Continue to add the oil, occasionally adding in more ice water, until all of the oil has been added and the aioli is emulsified. If you rush this process, the mixture will break and never emulsify. Whisk in the Aleppo chili pepper, lemon juice, and chives. Season with salt to taste.
Serve the smoked smashed potatoes with the reserved tomatoes & garlic on top and the tomato confit aioli alongside. Squeeze a touch of lemon juice over the potatoes and garnish with a few extra chives.